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Injuries dent U.S. national team roster ahead of Friday’s clash with Costa Rica outside Denver

Mar 18, 2013, 1:47 PM EDT

Jamaica v United States - World Cup Qualifer Getty Images

It sounded a bit ominous to hear that the U.S. national coaching staff was in scramble mode, delaying its roster announcement (which had been set tentatively for Monday morning) ahead of Friday’s important World Cup qualifier.

Whispers circulated that “multiple starters” would miss the match – above the ones we already knew about, that is. Tim Howard is the big one (we knew about his back injury previously), although Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan is no huge dropoff at this point.

The new concern is at fullback. An injury to Steve Cherundolo made things thin back there already. But new setbacks to Edgar Castillo (facial fractures), Timmy Chandler (hamstring) and Fabian Johnson (hip) have things looking rather dire at the right and left back positions.

(MORE: Klinsmann talks about roster, Bocanegra and Dempsey)

Heck, even Jonathan Spector, who is fairly far down on the fullback depth chart, has an ankle injury. And Jose Torres, who played as an attack-minded left fullback last year in a qualifier against Antiqua and Barbuda has a hamstring strain.

The injuries to Chandler, Castillo and Williams (who has a nasty stomach flu) weren’t apparent from weekend matches, hence the late U.S. Soccer scramble in assembling the roster. This set of 23 will cover not just Friday’s contest at Dicks Sporting Goods Park against Costa Rica, but next week’s match at Mexico as well.

While most U.S. attackers are available (with on-sabbatical Landon Donovan the obvious exception), the highly unpredictable back line construction is the issue here.

(MORE: Who will start along the beat-up back line)

The truly notable absence here is former captain Carlos Bocanegra. So, that answers that question. The 33-year-old defender, who has been used often at left back, is not injured.

For now, here’s the United States’ 23-man roster, released just a few minutes ago from U.S. Soccer:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes)

MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (AS Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)

  1. mataveli - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    this backline is very very worrisome. morrow, besler, goodson, cameron or any variation are going to have a tough time getting more than 2 points from two games. Beltran to me is not even close to being ready for this level. does anyone know Bob Bradley’s phone number? i am starting to thing phillip lahm was right.

    • teamperkins11 - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Unless Bob Bradley is a witch doctor I am afraid there is little he could do in regards to building team depth. We should not forget that another on the depth chart at right back is also out right now. Beitsashour got hurt during the January camp and you have to think he was being prepped as #3 behind Dolo & Chandler.

  2. mrstev - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Wow. This will be a interesting game!
    Could this be a make-or-break moment for Klinsi? Injuries aside, he has made some purposeful choices that put him on a bit of a limb.
    Even if the makeshift back line holds up (and I hope they do!), I’m not sure where the goals will come from…Dempsey I suppose.

    • teamperkins11 - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      The forwards called in are all producing well right now, with the exception of Dempsey (who has been out injured). If we do not score, it will be because we are trying to cover up holes in the back, not because we don’t have scoring options up top. You could even argue that we can put together a pretty solid midfield.

      Altidore – Gomez
      Dempsey-Bradley-Jones- Zusi/Kleijen

      isn’t bad at all from an attacking perspective. How Jones and Bradley can work out there partnership in the middle would be the key there.

      • docstraw - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        Klinsmann hasn’t really shown any inclination to go with the old “empty bucket” without a dedicated “6”. I like Dempsey lining up left and pinching in, which is classic Deuce, as opposed to playing as more of a “10” behind the striker.

  3. tylerbetts - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Thank God we’re going with a GK who is used to facing a firing squad.

    • Steve Davis - Mar 18, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Awesome, dude! Best comment of the day! (As always, no cash prize involved)

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