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After flurry of yellow cards, USMNT set to summon replacements ahead of Mexico qualifier

Marco Rodriguez, Matt Besler

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — As the U.S. Men’s National Team travels to Columbus, so too could some reinforcements.

With Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron out for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Mexico due to yellow card accumulation, the U.S. is likely to summon some replacements to help bolster a squad that could also be without Michael Bradley due to the ankle injury he suffered in Friday night’s 3-1 loss to Costa Rica at Estadio Nacional.

That means help could be on the way at a number of positions: Forward, centerback and center midfield.

“With the yellow card situation, we’re going to sit down now and discuss now all the elements that we want to, obviously, change and how we throw it into the Tuesday game based on what happened tonight,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Friday night. “We knew about the risk, we know about the situation. It’s always upsetting when it happens, especially when I look at Jozy Altidore’s yellow card towards the end that was absolutely not necessary, but it is what it is. We’ll adjust to it, if we need to call in more players, we will do that still tonight and therefore, we’re going to prepare very focused on Mexico.”

Klinsmann could summon a number of different players. At centerback, he could call in Clarence Goodson. In the midfield, he could add players like Sacha Kljestan, Jose Torres or Joe Corona. Up top, he may turn to someone like Terrence Boyd.

Regardless of who Klinsmann selects, the U.S. depth that shone during the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers this past summer will be tested greatly on Tuesday against a Mexico team that will be desperate for a victory after losing at home to Honduras on Friday night.

“I think we’re going to have to answer that. I don’t know the answer,” said Tim Howard when asked if the U.S. had the depth to make up for the loss of so many key players. “I’d like to say yes. We’re going to have to see how it is with Michael. We don’t know how bad it is. If we can get him back, that’d be great.

“I don’t know. I think the depth is good but my words mean nothing. We’ll figure it out on Tuesday.”

Klinsmann has repeatedly talked about players needing to step up and shine when called upon, but Tuesday’s game might just be the toughest challenge for both the U.S. head coach and his players. Not just because they are playing an El Tri team with nothing to lose, but because the pressure will be on after the rough Friday night in San Jose.

“Part of qualifying is that: How much depth do you have,” said Landon Donovan. “Fortunately, we’ve built a team with a lot of depth, so we feel confident about other guys stepping in and doing a job and there’s guys who have wanted to play and deserve to play and now they’re going to have a chance.”


  1. Ok, i’ll throw a couple of names that will surprise many of you guys, i’d call Timmy Chandler because he is definitely needed right now, and i’d also like to see Wil Trapp, the guy plays amazing football and he would be playing at home so he would be getting all the support by the crowd, i know that isn’t happening but i’m sure he’ll be in the pool for the 2018 qualyfiers.

  2. After Klinsmann’s really stupid coaching decisions for the Costa Rica match, I’m too tired to even try to guess what he will or should do against Mexico.

    • As stupid as some of his decisions were, we should remember that he has been good at correcting his mistakes over the past 12 months. Let’s see how he handles it.

      • “good at correcting his mistakes”

        True, except the ones he keeps making, again and again. For example, despite Klinsmann’s apparent insistence to the contrary:

        – Beasley is not a reliable defender
        – Jones is not a playmaker—he needs to be told to stay home (in front of the back four) or to go home (to Germany)
        – Dempsey is not defensive—he can pester fullbacks and/or the keeper, but that’s it

        Of all these, it was Klinsmann’s belief that Jones can tandem with Bradley is what led to the disaster last night. Jones can *back up* Bradley on the field, playing the destroyer while Bradley pushes forward. But Jones cannot play alongside Bradley and he most certainly cannot fill in for Bradley. Klinsmann put Cameron in, thinking that a Cameron-Jones midfield would create some passing and pivots. Well, it certainly did—for Costa Rica! Jones is good, but he is not a playmaker; he is not a field general.

        So, who fills that field general role when The General Bradley is injured? Or rather, who would have been a better option than Jones? Here’s three:

        – Beckerman
        – Donovan (yeah yeah, it’s not his position, but so what? Being injured is not Bradley’s “position” either)
        – Mix—in about 2 years, that is (though he probably would have been okay against Costa Rica)

        ***To be clear: this is not a rant against Jones! He is a good-to-great player. But the coach has got to recognize Jones’ limitations.

    • Sooner of Later, his choices were bound to not work out. He has had a pretty good rum. Things are different now. There has been a lot of talk, about how deep this team is, about how full of confidence they are, what great choices JK made that lead to a score, a win, etc, etc.

      Well now it’s crunch time.

      We can probably make the World Cup. We need 4 points out of the 12 remaining, and two of those are at home. But we have some key injuries and some suspensions,

      Mistakes were made in player selection, formation and execution and put the US in a hole that we should not be in and now its down to the wire.

      It’s this simple. If the US win’s against Mexico, then the team, the coaches and the pundits can say, The team is deep, the team is confident,e etc, etc.

      But if The US cannot get a win against a very undistinguished Mexican side, then it’s all hokum and we haven’t made any inroads to where this team needs to be

      If we are to build a team that can get to the quarters or the semi’s, and a team that can beat the mid and upper level teams at tournament time, then we need to put away the home rivals first. and foremost. We do not deserve a slot if we cannot do this.

  3. Is Brooks the same guy who gave up 3 goals in a friendly in is only cas to date? Is that the guy we are considering against a desperate Mexico team? Yikes.

  4. Im not even sure who I want to see start vs Mexico. After watching what Honduras did to Mexico in a 4-4-2 that is probably not a bad way to start at home. 4-4-2 makes even more sense with MB90 probably not being able to play. Johannson would probably not have been a player I would have wanted to start, but now there are few better, if any options.

    Donovan Jones Mix Bedoya
    Johnson Brooks Omar Parkhurst

    Far from ideal, but these cats should be able to score and defend fairly well. I hate the idea of Parkhurst starting and would love to see Bedoya at right back and Zusi in front of him, but Mexico would not be the ideal team to experiment with at this particular stage. I put Johnson at left back over Beas, not because I rate him much higher but because I feel Johnson provides more on the overlap with Donovan than Beasley even though they have played together longer. I also think this lineup also puts our best players on the field. If i wanted us to defend more, I would put Beckerman in for Mix. Beckerman was a beast last time we played, but i just don’t see him as a creative enough force in the center to justify starting him. I also question Brooks in a starting role so early in his career with the nats, but with besler and cam out, and our best replacement being Goodson think he wins the start.

    • While I don’t think this is the eleven we’ll see against Mexico, this is the eleven I want to see the most out of those at our disposal. A major part of our problems with the game last night was that we had two defensive CM type players together. One will have to help the back line while the other helps facilitate the attack. It has to be Jones or Beckerman, but not both, and Jones will probably start. That means we need Mix, Sacha, or someone else who can keep possession and get the ball moving forward…

    • What last night revealed was an inability to slow the tempo, a lack of patience in finding the short pass, a lack of speed at CB, and a RB experiment that will hopefully never be tried again. I’m not sure who my starting 11 would be.

    • Bench Dempsey and Howard, im sick of these 2 being automatic starters when they absolutely do NOT warrant it. Howard has been bad at Everton, Guzan has been extremely consistent and excelling. Dempsey is lazy and he may have one moment of brilliance in a match, but other than that he does very very little for this team. Id play Corona or even Torres over him, players who actually look like they care

  5. This shows how much Holden’s injury is hurting the USMNT. Imagine if we’d had a healthy and in-form Stu on the bench? We’d be having very different conversations right now.

  6. While I was watching the game I noticed the complete absence of the midfield. I was looking around for Beckerman and didn’t see him. Why is he with the team when Klinsmann doesn’t trust him to fill that spot. There was a vacuum that didn’t exist in the Gold Cup. Jones was sort of like having nobody there. I found amazing that none of the four strikers were able to make a real difference. I don’t count penalty kicks as examples of aggressive play. The team lacked a center and that in my opinion should have been Kyle Beckerman.

  7. Captain or not, Dempsey needs to sit out and rediscover himself, I would sit Howard as well, his performance has declined over the last year…he could have done something about that second goal.

  8. Sorry, as I’m sure I’ve missed it — just couldn’t face the likely endless post-mortem this morning — but what precisely was Besler booked for on the play pictured here? Seems like it was called in from the AR (and not for example for dissent after the play or something). Just curious on that point, if anyone cares to clarify.

    Sad to see such a disappointing performance from him (not that he was the only one!), as he had seemed a more reliable part of the solution to our CB issues…

  9. The last thing we need is another slow CB like Goodson.

    As for replacing Jozy, Aron Johannsson should get the start but the best forward option to add to the roster is Juan Agudelo, who is on a tear this season.


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