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U.S. attackers Landon Donovan and Brek Shea ruled out for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

Oct 9, 2012, 6:05 PM EDT

Mexico v United States Getty Images

Jurgen Klinsmann will have neither Landon Donovan nor Brek Shea from which to choose in the coming World Cup qualifiers. So, there’s goes the American width in attack.

Donovan hurt his left knee in Saturday’s L.A. Galaxy loss, but felt better than expected two days later and flew into Miami to join the team.

Shea missed FC Dallas’ weekend draw (also in Los Angeles, but against Chivas USA) but had hoped to recover sufficiently from an abdominal strain and other minor ailments to help the U.S. either Friday against Antigua and Barbuda or next week at home against Guatemala.

Both were ruled out Tuesday by U.S. Soccer’s medical staff.

“It’s unfortunate for Landon and Brek that they won’t be able to play,” Klinsmann said late Tuesday through a U.S. Soccer release. “Landon was very optimistic over the weekend when his knee was feeling much better, but now he needs time to recover. We knew Brek was a question mark coming in, and now we have a clear picture of where he stands. We feel confident that the group we have will get the job done.”

Although Klinsmann said no replacements are forthcoming, you have to wonder if that might change.

Graham Zusi can and has played out wide for Klinsmann, but it’s clearly not his best spot. (On the other hand, Zusi partnered wonderfully with Steve Cherundolo on the right side in the American win over Jamaica.)

Sacha Kljestan has played in wide roles before, but his tendencies are always to lean inside. Klinsmann even addressed that topic in Monday’s conference call with reporters, noting with appreciation the Anderlecht man’s willingness to take a shift wide left in a 4-4-2 in the win over Italy.

So, minus any reinforcements, the width in attack will presumably be on Cherundolo on the right and Fabian Johnson on the left.

They’ll have to be up for the job, because the stakes are fairly significant.

  1. slxc - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Excellent Notice.

  2. dfstell - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    I sometimes feel like Klinsmann is trolling us. :)

  3. tylerbetts - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Not that it wasn’t already true, but thank heavens that Bradley is back. I can’t fathom needing to go into the must-win weekend missing Donovan AND Bradley. I’m also really glad Zusi has been in good form and has shown himself capable on this stage.

    • indirectkicks - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      Honestly, I’m going to miss Shea more than Donovan. I know how important Donovan has been over the years, but I feel like Brek is the future and could start stringing good USMNT performances together any day now. I would also like him to get time before 2014 rolls around so he’s ready to go.

      Also, I’m really high on Zusi right now. I don’t usually get high on MLS guys, but Zusi, by all appearances, is class. If I had my way, he’d be out there opposite Brek.

      And yes, I think Bradley coming back is key. Him in the lineup is more important than Brek/Donovan being out of it, IMHO.

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