Here is what we know at this late hour:
*Michael Bradley left National Stadium on crutches, his sprained left ankle awaiting an MRI test in Columbus on Saturday. ”He just rolled his ankle really, really bad” during warm-ups, Juergen Klinsmann said. Bradley did not want to comment.
Even if no serious damage is detected, the U.S. midfielder seems certain to miss Tuesday’s showdown against Mexico (8 p.m. ET, ESPN, UniMas).
*Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler and Jozy Altidore will miss the Mexico match on yellow-card suspension.
With the injury and bans, Klinsmann and his staff began weighing options for roster call-ups immediately after the match. Any player put on notice two weeks ago is eligible for assignment. (The preliminary list was not made public.)
The U.S. team will charter to Ohio early Saturday and begin regrouping. Call-ups are expected to join the delegation in Columbus on Saturday or early Sunday, which means MLS-based selections would miss their weekend match.
The Americans are planning to practice at Crew Stadium on Sunday and Monday. Mexico will not arrive until Monday.
With Bradley down and Cameron out, Kyle Beckerman is primed to enter the lineup Tuesday and partner with Jermaine Jones in deep midfield. (I can’t tell you how much Klinsmann loves Beckerman, the leader of Real Salt Lake’s Supporters’ Shield bid.)
Is John Brooks ready for his first qualifier in place of Besler? Or does Michael Orozco move into the middle and Michael Parkhurst start on the right? Could Clarence Goodson, who was not named to the roster, re-enter the mix?
*Despite the 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, the Americans remain in strong position to qualify for the World Cup. A U.S. victory over Mexico and a Honduras victory or draw at home against Panama will secure passage to Brazil next summer.
Furthermore, an American triumph and Honduras win would almost ensure Mexico finishing no better than fourth and, consequently, probably heading to the CONCACAF-Oceania playoff this fall. Remember when El Tri began the year as the hexagonal favorite?
According to ESPN researcher Paul Carr, the last time the USA and Mexico lost qualifiers on the same day was in July 2000: the Mexicans at T&T, the Americans at — you guessed it — Costa Rica.
The updated standings through seven of 10 matchdays:
Costa Rica 14 points
United States 13 points
Honduras 10 points
Mexico 8 points
Panama 7 points
Jamaica 3 points
Tuesday’s other match: Costa Rica at Jamaica.
USA-Costa Rica video package: