USMNT: Two starters drop out with injuries

Bruce Arena was U.S. men's national team coach for eight years so he knows all about being at the mercy of the injury gods.

Two weeks ago, he said he had a good idea about who he'd pick for the squad that will face Honduras and Panama but would have to wait and hope "no crazy things happen in the short period of time."

Sure enough, in the three days after he named his team, he lost two players expected to start and play key roles and almost lost a third.

First, Fabian Johnson left Borussia Moenchengladbach's Europa League game in the 16th minute on Thursday with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Graham Zusi the next day.

On Saturday, Hamburg forward Bobby Wood was the only player Arena called up who did not play the full 90 minutes, exiting HSV's 0-0 tie at Eintracht Frankfurt with what turned out to be a back injury.

On Sunday, U.S. Soccer announced that Sacha Kljestan was called in to replace Wood, who has scored nine goals in his first season in the Bundesliga.

Arena also called up Matt Besler for defensive reinforcements. That move followed concerns by Hertha Berlin about a minor knee injury suffered by defender John Brooks in the 4-2 loss to FC Cologne. The German did clear him to travel to San Jose, though.

The moves brought to seven the changes since Arena announced his squad on Wednesday. The next day, David Bingham replaced Brad Guzan (whose wife is expecting a baby) in goal.

The absences of Johnson, Wood and Guzan bring to five the number of starters against Costa Rica in Jurgen Klinsmann's last game who won't be available against Honduras. Jermaine Jones and Timmy Chandler (who will remain in Germany) are suspended.

Injuries are part and parcel with a national team coach's selection process. Klinsmann would wait until the last minute to reveal his picks. In 2013, for the same March Hexagonal matches, he even had to push back the Monday announcement of his squad because of a rash of injuries. He lost eight players -- five of them defenders -- with injuries or illness.

Klinsmann improvised, starting DaMarcus Beasley at left back, and the USA, which also went into March without a point, survived with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in heavy snow and then a 0-0 tie against Mexico at Azteca Stadium, putting it on a path to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

All 23 players who Arena called up and whose teams were in action on Friday and Saturday started. That includes Jorge Villafana, who played his first Liga MX game in almost six months, starting for Santos in its 1-1 tie at Tijuana.

Jozy Altidore had a goal and an assist in Toronto FC's 2-0 win at Vancouver, while John Brooks scored his first goal of the season for Hertha Berlin in a 4-2 loss at FC Cologne.

26 played
26 started
4 goals (Altidore, Brooks, Dempsey, Morris)
2 assists (Altidore, Zusi)
1 own goal (Bingham)
4 yellow cards (Bradley, Cameron, Nagbe, Zusi)

U.S. Roster:
Jozy Altidore, MLS/Toronto FC, 90 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2-0 at Vancouver Whitecaps
Clint Dempsey, MLS/Seattle Sounders, 89 minutes, 1 goal, 3-1 vs. New York Red Bulls
Jordan Morris, MLS/Seattle Sounders,  81 minutes, 1 goal, 3-1 vs. New York Red Bulls
*Bobby Wood, Germany/Hamburg, 89 minutes, 0-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt

Kellyn Acosta, MLS/FC Dallas, 90 minutes, 2-1 vs. New England Revolution
Alejandro Bedoya, MLS/Philadelphia Union, 90 minutes, 1-2 at Orlando City
Michael Bradley, MLS/Toronto FC, 90 minutes, 1 yellow card, 2-0 at Vancouver Whitecaps
Jermaine Jones, MLS/LA Galaxy, 90 minutes, 2-1 at Real Salt Lake
**Sacha Kljestan, MLS/New York Red Bulls, 90 minutes, 1-3 at Seattle Sounders
Sebastian Lletget, MLS/LA Galaxy, 90 minutes, 2-1 at Real Salt Lake
Dax McCarty, MLS/Chicago Fire, 90 minutes, 0-4 at Atlanta United
Darlington Nagbe, MLS/Portland Timbers, 90 minutes, 1 yellow card, 4-2 vs. Houston Dynamo
Christian Pulisic, Germany/Borussia Dortmund, 76 minutes, 1-0 vs. FC Ingolstadt

DaMarcus Beasley, MLS/Houston Dynamo, 90 minutes 2-4 at Portland Timbers
**Matt Besler, MLS/Sporting KC, 2-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes
John Brooks
, Germany/Hertha Berlin, 90 minutes, 1 goal, 2-4 at FC Cologne
Geoff Cameron, England/Stoke City, 90 minutes, 1 yellow card, 1-2 vs. Chelsea
Omar Gonzalez, Mexico/Pachuca, 90 minutes, 0-3 at Queretaro
Michael Orozco, Mexico/Tijuana, 90 minutes, 1-1 vs. Santos
Tim Ream, England/Fulham, 90 minutes, 1-3 vs. Wolves
Jorge Villafana, Mexico/Santos, 90 minutes, 1-1 at Tijuana
Walker Zimmerman, MLS/FC Dallas, 90 minutes, 2-1 vs. New England Revolution
**Graham Zusi, MLS/Sporting KC, 90 minutes, 1 assist, 1 yellow card, 2-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes

**David Bingham, MLS/San Jose Earthquakes, 90 minutes, 1 own goal, 1-2 at Sporting KC
Tim Howard, MLS/Colorado Rapids, 90 minutes, 2-2 vs. Minnesota United
Nick Rimando, MLS/Real Salt Lake, 90 minutes, 1-2 vs. LA Galaxy
*Injured and dropped from squad.
**Late call-ups.

5 comments about "USMNT: Two starters drop out with injuries".
  1. marcos gonzalez, March 19, 2017 at 9:20 p.m.

    this is going to be more defensive than was expected to be. on both sides because honduras will shut spaces and try to counter with even panama is playing a lot more direct lately.

  2. marcos gonzalez, March 19, 2017 at 10:13 p.m.

    im sorry about wood. i was looking foward to see him make it big in the HEX but that will have to wait. im not panicking yet because the US still has morris. you might say he is young and some will remind us that he doesnt play in duetschland. but combined with dempsey, that is what i was hoping to see for the usmnt a long time ago but seemed out of the question due to dempseys condition. now that duece is back, im feeling better... as long as he is truly better! im also happy to see kljestan back.... chemistry is what i thought klinsmans teamreally lacked and now, kljestan combined with macarty gives arena more options that have it.

  3. Nick Daverese, March 20, 2017 at 7:11 a.m.

    DeMarcus Beasily if I recall originally was tried as a back by Bruce Arena. At that time the team had a lot of speed they had so much speed they had to find places to play for them all. To ban Klinnesmann never tried to full the team with speed and Arenas team were also skill players. I like Arena because the guy wanted to win all the games even friendly games. There was MLS all star game against a premiership side. Both managers agree they would not high pressure each other so less chances of injuring one of there players. So what does Bruce do he tells his guys to high pressure in the first half. They built a lead and won the match. That was when I first liked Bruce as a manager.

  4. marcos gonzalez, March 20, 2017 at 11:55 a.m.

    just saw feilhabers golazo! zusi with the assist.

  5. Wooden Ships replied, March 20, 2017 at 4:48 p.m.

    BF isn't known for his scoring, but he see's everything. The Keeper gave him a window and a goal was the result. Benny has been our most talented 10 for several years and to our teams development to play a more sophisticated game, our National team managers have not recognized this. Embarrassing!

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