On Monday, Juergen Klinsmann named a 24-man roster for the U.S. national team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Simple enough.
On Tuesday, he had to scratch two attackers because of lingering injury. Okay, there were enough options to compensate, and at least the defense was intact.
On Wednesday, two left-side defenders were shelved. Uh-oh.
The latest casualties were Fabian Johnson (flu) and Edgar Castillo (foot), who joined Landon Donovan (knee) and Brek Shea (abdominal strain) on the sideline.
Castillo, Donovan and Shea will miss the matches against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday and Guatemala on Tuesday — the last games in a tightly packed semifinal-round group. Johnson is scheduled to meet the team in Kansas City for the finale against Guatemala.
Despite the roster dwindling to 20 players, including three goalkeepers, Klinsmann will not summon replacements for the Antigua trip. It is unclear whether he will call in reinforcements ahead of the Guatemala game at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
“Fabian has been ill since the weekend, and we were waiting to see if he would be healthy enough to join us in Miami” for training camp, Klinsmann said. “At this point, it is in everyone’s best interest to allow him to fully recover from his illness and come into Kansas City ready to play against Guatemala.”
Klinsmann was without his top left backs for the group opener in June against Antigua & Barbuda and called on midfielder Jose Torres. However, Torres was not selected for these upcoming matches and reportedly is recovering from a foot injury. Captain Carlos Bocanegra, who plays centrally or on the outside, is now the leading candidate to start on the left. Michael Parkhurst is also an option.
Klinsmann also must be mindful of the U.S. team’s disciplinary status. Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu and Graham Zusi are carrying a yellow card into the Antigua match, and with another booking, would miss the Guatemala game.
The updated roster for Antigua match:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hanover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland).
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders).