WCQ Callups: USA battles injuries and suspensions

The roster for the U.S. national team's World Cup 2018 qualifiers against St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago is expected to be released on Sunday.

When Jurgen Klinsmann sends out call-up notices, he'll have to deal with a bunch of change of addresses: five players from the Copa Centenario team have switched clubs.

Injuries and suspensions for the SVG game -- and the early-season struggles of his Europeans -- complicate Klinsmann's roster building.

Concacaf Group C:
Sept. 2

St. Vincent & Gren. vs. USA
Trin. & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 6
USA vs. Trin. & Tobago
Guatemala vs. St. Vincent & Gren.
Trin. & Tobago 10 points; USA 9;
Guatemala 6; St. Vincent & Gren. 0.

Klinsmann will be without captain Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, his two starting central midfielders for next Friday's game at St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Bradley and Michael Orozco are suspended, while Jones has been sidelined since July 4 with a knee injury and is still day-to-day with a knee injury. Reserve Edgar Castillo is also out with a knee injury.

UPDATE: The Seattle Sounders issued a statement on Friday that Clint Dempsey is undergoing medical evaluations for an irregular heartbeat and won't play in Sunday's match against the Portland Timbers, putting his status for the U.S. qualifiers in doubt.

Eight of the U.S. players from the Copa Centenario are playing in Europe and just beginning their new club seasons. Most are simply trying to nail down first-team starting jobs. DeAndre Yedlin was transferred from Tottenham to Newcastle United on Wednesday; Christian Pulisic's status at Borussia Dortmund is uncertain following a wave of offseason reinforcements.

The most notable returnee will be Jozy Altidore, who missed the Copa Centenario with a hamstring injury but has scored goals in five of his last six games for Toronto FC. Klinsmann might also recall Timmy Chandler, a late scratch for the Copa Centenario, as a backup at outside back. Aron Johannsson is also healthy again after missing almost all of his first season with Werder Bremen.

Klinsmann does not have a history of giving many players their first caps in competitive matches -- Darlington Nagbe, after he received his citizenship papers, and Pulisic, after his rapid development at Dortmund, are recent exceptions -- but a few players should be under consideration for call-ups:

-- Jorge Villafana, who moved to Santos in Mexico in January after starting at left back for Portland's 2015 MLS Cup championship team;
-- Keegan Rosenberry, who has played every minute of every game as a rookie for the Philadelphia Union;
-- Tommy McNamara, who starts for New York City FC, second in MLS's Eastern Conference.
-- Lynden Gooch, who was the only American to start on the opening day of the EPL season, at Sunderland.

If MLS form counts for anything, Klinsmann will consider Sacha Kljestan, who leads MLS with 15 assists and could be a valuable option in central midfield, at least against St. Vincent & the Grenadines with both Bradley and Jones unavailable. But the last appearance by the Kljestan, who turns 31 on Sept. 9, was in March 2014.

U.S. Copa Centenario Roster:
*Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough, ENG)
Ethan Horvath (Molde, NOR)
*Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Matt Besler (Sporting KC)
Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United)
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin, GER)
Geoff Cameron (Stoke City, ENG)
Edgar Castillo (Monterrey, MEX)
Michael Orozco (Tijuana, MEX)
*DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG)
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)
*Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Fabian Johnson (Borussia M'Gladbach, GER)
Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids)
Perry Kitchen (Hearts, SCO)
Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER)
Graham Zusi (Sporting KC).
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
*Bobby Wood (Hamburg, GER)
Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
* Switched clubs.

1 comment about "WCQ Callups: USA battles injuries and suspensions".
  1. Wooden Ships, August 27, 2016 at 9:23 a.m.

    Softening expectations? As always roster selections might hold more fascination than the games. I do look forward to a midfield pairing or three, without Bradley. But, that will be offset with the return of Altidore. Go U.S.

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