Nov 13, 2013, 3:06 PM EDT
USMNT captain Clint Dempsey has picked up a calf injury in training this morning and has been withdrawn from the squad to face Scotland and Austria.
Midfielder Fabian Johnson, suffering from a nagging ankle injury he got with his club, has also been removed from the national team picture for this window.
Neither players will be replaced, according to U.S. Soccer.
It’s definitely not a surprise that either of the players will be removed, as it may have been a bit surprising that they were included in the first place. No MLS players still in action were included and a few on teams just recently eliminated – such as Dempsey’s Seattle Sounders – were also left off.
Johnson’s ankle has given him problems for a month or so now, and he hasn’t started a match with his Bundesliga club Hoffenheim since September 28 when he was injured. He was out of the squad until Saturday when he came on as a halftime substitute.
The injuries make even more room for players looking to become late additions to the World Cup roster.
Aron Johannsson, red-hot with his club AZ Alkmaar, could possibly get a start with Dempsey out. He could play either up front next to Altidore, behind the striker, or out on the wing as a direct replacement for Dempsey. Johnson’s exclusion makes way for the likes of Mix Diskerud or Brek Shea.
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