Top Stories

USMNT Notes: Johnson, Castillo doubts to play, Altidore unlikely to start & more


Photo by John Todd/


TAMPA, Fla. — When the U.S. men's national team begin their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday, it seems all but certain that neither Fabian Johnson nor Edgar Castillo will be starting at left back.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann all but ruled the two left-sided fullbacks out of the opening qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda at Raymond James Stadium on Friday night, as they continue to nurse respective injuries.

Fabian Johnson is recovering from a calf injury picked up in the warmups prior to last Sunday's friendly against Canada, while his replacement, Castillo, suffered a hamstring injury in Thursday night's practice session at University of South Florida's Corbett Soccer Stadium.

"It's very unlikely that they play," said Klinsmann. "Very, very unlikely."

Johnson could be back for next Tuesday's road fixture in Guatemala, but even that is not certain.

"We don't want to force it," said Klinsmann. "Hopefully it's working out against Guatemala, but we don't want to stretch it too much."

With Johnson and Castillo likely out on Friday and questionable for next Tuesday's road game, Klinsmann could turn to Michael Parkhurst to play left back. Klinsmann could also opt to slide Carlos Bocanegra over from his regular centerback spot and pair two of Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson and Geoff Cameron in the middle.

Here are more notes from USMNT camp:


Jozy Altidore's late arrival to the U.S. team's training camp this summer appears to be proving costly for him. 

Altidore seems unlikely to start versus Antigua and Barbuda on Friday due to a combination of not being as fit as the rest of the team and other players making the most of their opportunities in his absence. Altidore arrived nearly two weeks late to camp due to his club, AZ Alkmaar, not releasing him. He joined the United States on May 28 after playing his final league game of the season on May 6.

"That's a pretty long gap for not training with a team, not doing three training sessions a day like we did in Orlando and this is what you see then," said Klinsmann. "You can see that in every training session that he was then behind and we help him, and we'll work on it.

"He's working hard, and he's positive about it. But then you have somebody else like Terrence Boyd and Herculez (Gomez) against Brazil and they used their chance, they made a very strong case for themselves and the competition is open, it's an open competition.

"It's always about the moment. How do you present yourself right now, not how you maybe present yourself two weeks from now. It's about today, so we need to evaluate, as coaches, where they are right now and make the best decision for the team and for the purpose to get results."


If this week has given any indication as to what the weather will be like around kickoff, fans can expect pouring rain.

Heavy rainstorms have hit Tampa throughout the week, but the United States is not concerned about the wet conditions giving Antigua and Barbuda a bit more of an advantage should they continue on Friday night. In fact, the Americans might even prefer it.

"If it rains, it's not a big deal," said Bocanegra. "The field's wet, the ball slides nicely, we can move the ball quickly."


Who do you think should start at left back against Antigua and Barbuda? Should Klinsmann start Altidore on Friday? Do you see rain helping or hurting the Americans?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If Boyd and Gomez had not looked so good or if they did a “Fabian and Edgar” you would so Jozy out there tonight.

    Why push it? And for all you black helicopter types it will shut you up about Boyd’s committment to the US.

  2. I disagree with you that JK is being “cute with the roster”. Clearly, JK does not rate Lichaj at the moment. If he did Eric would be in camp.

    So are you saying is you expected our two left backs to get hurt? And how often does that happen?

    And you are saying you think that is a big deal against Antigua and Barbuda?

    The vociferous Cameron fan club has waxed lyrical about his versatility and his ability to play anywhere. Based on their keen eye for talent, I would think Cameron would slot in fine at left back or we could just play 3-4-3 with Dolo- (whoever) – Boca.

    Not to underrate them but if Cameron can’t do that against them then he does not belong on this squad.

    And you are also saying the US can’t call in someone in for Guatemala should Fabian and Edgar still be MIA. Since that someone would have to be in playing shape ( see Jozy) my guess would be an MLS guy like Zach Loyd or Heath Pearce.

    This falls in the category of tempest in a teapot.

  3. When people say the national team does not develop players what they mean is, if a player does not have the requisite skills and qualities, the national team is not the place to develop those skills.

    A guy like Gyau for example, needs to prove he can play winger at Hoffenheim before you can expect him to be a good winger for the USMNT.

    It’s a simple mathematical issue. If Gyau makes the senior squad at Hoffenheim, when you add up all the league, cup and exhibition games and all the practices and compare that to what he can get as a US player, there is no comparison.

    Playing for the national team will always involve some form of transition but the higher the level of the player’s club, the less of a transition he will have to make.

    Which is exactly why Cameron needs to move to a club where the “speed of play” is closer to what he will encounter with the USMNT. For example, our Bundesliga based players don’t have too much trouble adapting to “international pace”.

  4. If I were the coach

    ———-Mike B———
    ——-Mikey – LD——
    —–Michael – Bradley—
    Bornstein -Michael B – Mike Bradley – Mikey B

  5. I can understand the concern for Bocanegra against Guatemala but Cherundolo is still starting in the Bundesliga. He is fine. He was fine against Brazil facing some of the most talented players in the world.. He was even better against Scotland. Cherundolo has and continues to earn his spot.

  6. 🙂 in other soccer boards you would be asking for a fight. Let’s see what he has tonite. I hope he can rebound.

  7. I agree with you but I don’t think he is ready for the sub role. he still has something left in the tank. time will tell.

  8. this lineup will give us speed in the middle but boca may be working a bit more in the wing, specially if he is going to do it again in a few days in guatemala. Cameron is a good passer so I see us controlling from the back. If we are way ahead I can see Boca, taking the 2nd half off for parkhust.

  9. I thought JK gave Jozy the training drills for him to do on his own while he was doing charitable events. I wonder if Jozy bother with it.

  10. If only they had called in Lichaj the second coming of Paolo Maldini. We would have beaten Brasil 5-0. Castillo was at fault vs canada when they scored 3 goals on us.

    There I am finally on the banwaggon with a lot of the posters lol. Yes I am being sarcastic.

  11. We’ve messed with the center back pairings so much that I really feel like Boca has to be there, just to give us some kind of consistency. I’d put Parkhurst on the left for now and keep Boca and Goodson in the middle with Dolo on the right.

    ——-Deuce – LD——
    —–Torres – Bradley—
    Parkhurst – Boca – Goodson – Dolo

    —–Boyd – Herc——-
    Deuce – Jones – Bradley – LD
    Parkhurst- Boca- Goodson- Dolo

  12. Which Donovan will show up for the game? The three goal scorer against Scotland or the invisible Donovan against Canada? If the best starting XI are the best in form players why do so many assume Donovan continues to earn a starting berth?

  13. +1 – Exactly. Maybe develop isn’t the correct word, but most new players (like Cameron)need time to acclimate. We know what we know about Gooch. Plus, given his injuries, there is really a better argument that ne needs “development” time at the club level to recover enough to be effective again at the international level. Gooch has been a distinct liability in every game he’s played this round.

  14. While Gomez played well in his recent start. He’s not a true target forward. We have Dempsey running off of a forward already. I believe it’s important to have a physical presence to win and hold up balls that are moved from our midfield in these qualifiers. Particularly on the road in Guatemala.

    I’m concerned that Jozy isn’t starting. I hope Boyd gets the nod and can hold up the ball. I know I sound like an Emile Heskey/Brian Ching apologist, but these games count, and we’ve seen that they’re not easy.

  15. i highly doubt they are still doing 3 a day practices now that the games have started. I wouldnt be surprised if they’ve lowered it down to 2 (morning and evening) and lighten the load.

    Boyd and Gomez came from league games to the camp and have been training. Jozy went from league to having 2 weeks off where i doubt he touched a ball much to showing up to camp just after the Scotland game. He’s not out of shape, the others are simply sharper and match game fit. I’m sure Jozy could start and play most of the game (before JK would opt to bring in another striker option).

  16. I dont get how Boyd can even merit a start before Altidore. Jozy has had way more first team experience than Boyd.
    Regardless of who is healthy on Tuesday, The Yanks need to have a convincing win

  17. You could also do







  18. You can do so freakin much with the US team, but here’s what I think would get us goals..








  19. I’m sorry you seem to disagree but you, in fact, do develop at all levels.

    That’s where the phrase “speed of the game” was coined.

    Players develop from youth > college > pro > international. All have varying levels of increased speed, ability and reaction time associated with them.

    The only way to improve is by getting said minutes at each level. While there are exceptions to the rule, the general premise of improving with experience remains.

    As I said, Cameron needs more time before I’m ready to write him off. The same way Onyewu has had more time to prove, for me, he is not what I would like to proceed with under Jurgen’s style.

  20. OMG these boards are soooo anti-Parkhurst. The day Boca is a better option outside than Michael will never happen.

    I think Michael will start at left back and Boca will be in the middle. Every time Boca has been outside his lack of pace has hurt us. Michael however has been playing outside for years for his club

    Jozy should not start and maybe not even play. Herc and Boyd offer much more at this point and if he wants to start, he needs to show a lot more. I think he’s lost his position right now but hope that JK rewards the fighters and producers with starts and doesn’t revert to starting yesterday’s starters. I think he will do that.

    For that matter, how many no-shows does Donovan get before he doesnt start?

  21. I’ve seen Donovan as a super-sub for awhile now. People on this board just REFUSE to actually watch how he plays. Whenever you call into question his disappearing act you get, “but EVERTON!,” or “but 3 years ago in the World Cup!”

  22. Yes, thank you. I cannot STAND when people get on the national team coach for not “developing” young players… That’s not his job. It’s up to the player to develop at his club, and he gets called in when he earns it.

  23. for this game only 3 back formation!


  24. Why don’t we just put Torres at LB. We should be dominating possession and Torres is good enough defensively to play against A&B.

    I know there’s no way it will happen

  25. Boca should be fine at LB for the Antigua match.

    I’m sure JK would like to rest Johnson for the road match in Guatemala where he’ll be absolutely needed.


Leave a Comment