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Castillo out for both USMNT qualifiers, Johnson to join team in KC

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U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann must be feeling a bit of deja vu right now.

As was the case in the United States’ first World Cup qualifier against Antigua & Barbuda back in June, Klinsmann will be without both first-choice left backs, Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo, for the Americans visit to Antigua this coming Friday. Castillo has been sidelined by a foot injury and will miss both upcoming World Cup qualifiers while Johnson, who is suffering from a flu, is expected to join the team prior to their match against Guatemala next Tuesday.

“Obviously it’s a difficult situation losing Fabian for the Antigua game and Edgar being unavailable for both,” Klinsmann told “We were in a similar situation for the first match against Antigua & Barbuda in June, and we will be prepared.

“Fabian has been ill since the weekend, and we were waiting to see if he would be healthy enough to join us in Miami. 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.”

Johnson and Castillo’s absence now leaves Klinsmann without a natural left back for the match in Antigua and it also takes away two more of his wide options. Landon Donovan and Brek Shea were both ruled out on Tuesday with respective knocks.

As things stand now, the U.S. roster is down to 20 players. Klinsmann can summon replacements, but he will not do so for the Antigua & Barbuda match. How things stand after that in terms of injuries and suspensions will determine if he calls in any extra bodies for the Guatemala game.


What do you think of this development? Who do you see playing left back on Friday? Think it would be a mistake for Klinsmann not to call in a replacement?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I sometimes do not agree with you, The Imperative Voice, but I do on this issue. Yanks Abroad is reporting that Brad Evans is on Klinsmann’s alternates list, saying: “According to Joshua Mayers and other sources in Seattle, including head coach of the Sounders Sigi Schmid, Evans is on the ‘alternate list’ for Klinsmann. And quite frankly, Jurgen would be better off calling him in than not.”

    Klinsmann has known since Sunday that Johnson is ill and would miss Antigua, but did not call in a replacement. What disturbs me most about this farce, is that if Germany’s Kicker had not reported yesterday that Johnson had the flu, I have the feeling that Johnson’s absence and illness would have been kept quiet and not announced until Friday shortly before game time, sort of like a sudden surprise that Klinsmann had no control over and not something that Klinsmann had known since Sunday but had failed to take any precautionary actions.

    But who knows, so much secrecy surrounding this camp and we all know Klinsmann is good for a surprise that I will not be surprised if we have an announcement today that a couple of new faces have been called into camp, maybe even Evans.

    All that said, nothing more to do now but wait for the game and hope for no new illness/injuries and cheer on the team. And, I admit, I do think we are going to win decisively and if we get the win, I think we are through to the Hex no matter what happens between Guatemala and Jamaica. I have done the math on the possible scenarios, and I think maybe that the worst outcome for us would be a draw between Guatemala and Jamaica. Can anyone confirm that for me?

    • Per the rules all Klinsmann has to do is list 50 possibles to CONCACAF before the first qualifier, add any new ones to the provisional list a day before a game, and have 23 listed players on a final roster the day of. I think everything else is in-house protocol rather than the true eligibility rules. Maybe Klinsi wanted to try and hide some potential weaknesses until game time. If I know their LBs are out I can tactically plan for it.

      But gamesmanship regarding whom Antigua will expect doesn’t excuse the tangentially-related coaching decision of not exactly plugging the hole.

      I think this discussion came up on one of the last game-related threads, I think the alternates list is like 30 people, so it’s not necessarily for sure Evans is the “next man up” even if he’s an alternate. I think about all we know for sure is we have the list, Evans is on it and could be called off it, and Chandler has not even been contacted to have a chance of being on the list.

      As I’ve said before, I would hope we can go through but I think it would be hubristic to assume it. The selections were funny to begin with, eg, Gordon; Antigua has played teams to 1-0 and 0-0 at home; and I think you need to preserve tactically flexibility and roster depth ahead of time by keeping the roster full. I still see this as like Bradley’s last Gold Cup roster where once players started getting hurt, the quality of the wonky second-tier selections like Wondo and Bornstein was exposed.

  2. Things people need to consider re Klinsi’s stubbornness:
    (a) quick turnaround on games, 12th and 16th, might not know you need someone new til the 13th and then you’re trying to tell someone to get on a plane for a multi-stop to KC.
    (b) if I don’t formally call in the player now he may see club action over the weekend and show up more tired than what I need.
    (c) Klinsi has traditionally waited til the last second to cull the callups down to a roster list, which means he usually leaves a trail of rejects in his wake anyway. So we can’t get the numbers right for him to follow his usual process? Not like he has to lie to the replacements, he can tell them they’re being brought in for depth and may not dress. As long as they’re not big names they probably see the experience as valuable….though you would probably have to dress a Chandler to get them to travel.

  3. Howard
    Dolo Cameron Parkhurst Boca
    Bradley Williams
    Zusi Donovan

    Asuming that Jermaine and Edu are not fit enough people need to relax, we need JK more than people realize. He has done more for the youth and players than any other manager. Not to mention that he is taking everything in the right direction,and he has the guts to tell the players that you arent good enough, or to not even bother with attitudes from players that are “locks” on the team.

  4. Sounds ridiculous that JK wouldn’t bring in replacements, but if he doesn’t, I’d play Williams as a stay home, defensive cover only LB…I’m not so worried about left mid, it’s not the best, but we can get by with a natural righty. Maybe drop Herc to Rmid and play Zusi on the left. Play EJ up top with Deuce underneath. With JK it’s best to expect the unexpected. For all we know, he could have Goodson and Boca at CB with Cameron as a 6 and MB as an 8…or MB at right mid with Jones and Cameron in the middle…who knows…even with the injuries, we have enough quality players to get it done.

  5. I don’t know how I feel about putting Cher at right back. I mean, on one hand, she’s certainly getting on in years, but on the other, who wouldn’t like to see those long legs of hers bounding forward up the A&B left flank.

  6. Old School: “I’m going to make this as simple as possible for you to understand…”

    You can talk all the haughty smack you want about being a “voice of reason,” but if you were a truly reasonable person, you wouldn’t behave like such an arrogant, condescending dooshbag toward others. Such behavior is the surest sign of raging insecurity, because no truly self-assured person feels the need to treat others like toilet paper just to feel better about themselves, as you quite clearly do. Do the rest of us a favor, Old School – grow up or shut up!

  7. What I expect to see
    Jones Bradley
    Zusi Gomez Dempsey

    what we should see
    Zusi Bradley Pontius

  8. Let’s make this as simple as possible for you to comprehend:

    Landon Donovan has not been available as often for JK (if at all), as he was under Bob Bradley.

    His impact, which I clearly rate if I feel the need to make reference to it’s importance, has had direct consequences on our ability to be successful and/or play to our highest ability.

    The fact that you’ve taken this as I’m insinuating Donovan is “dissing” JK is as absurd as your assumption.

    I’m not one to mince my words. There’s no hidden meaning to my post.

    Nice try, Mel Gibson. No conspiracy here.

    • BS Old School. pretty soft reply

      geez, if you’re going to passive aggressively go after Donovan at least cop to it.

      Is that simple enough for you? Probably not

  9. “You sound like an officer on the Titanic telling the passengers not to panic, all will be well.”

    …and that’s where I stopped reading.

    Appreciate the response, however.


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