Turns out, Landon Donovan and Brek Shea are not healthy enough for the U.S. national soccer team’s World Cup qualifiers.
One day after being named to the roster, Donovan and Shea were ruled out of the matches against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday and Guatemala next Tuesday — the last two games of the semifinal round.
The U.S. medical staff examined Donovan’s injured knee Tuesday morning in Miami, where the American squad has begun workouts. Shea (abdominal strain) was also evaluated there.
U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann has no immediate plans to add replacements, the U.S. Soccer Federation said.
Both play wide in the attack, leaving Klinsmann with fewer options. Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi is expected to start.
Donovan, the U.S. all-time scoring leader who missed both qualifiers against Jamaica last month with injuries, hurt his knee Saturday late in a Los Angeles Galaxy match. He was so optimistic about a quick recovery, he skipped an MRI exam in Los Angeles and flew to Florida on Monday.
“Maybe we should have been a little stern [about Donovan] having the test in L.A., but we have to rely on how the player feels,” Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena told the Insider. “I’m sure he felt some pressure to report. It’s no fault of anyone’s. No harm, no foul.”
Shea, a wide midfielder, was injured Sept. 29 playing for FC Dallas and was questionable for U.S. availability all along.
Both will return to their MLS clubs for further evaluation and treatment.
“It’s unfortunate for Landon and Brek that they won’t be able to play,” Klinsmann said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Klinsmann’s roster had come under scrutiny upon its release Monday. He decided to not select attacking players Jozy Altidore, Jose Torres, Chris Wondolowski and Terrence Boyd.
The Americans are tied for first place in their CONCACAF semifinal-round group with Guatemala and Jamaica. After playing Antigua, they’ll face Guatemala next Tuesday at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Two teams will advance to next year’s final round.