The bottom line on the Fabian Johnson news out Sunday morning – the German-American left back, who helped stabilize the team’s longtime problem child position, will not be joining the team in Kansas City, as expected – is that there is no quick-fix solution.
The United States, playing at home Tuesday, should be able to handle Guatemala without its top choice left back. (And its second choice left back, Edgar Castillo, who is also injured.)
But as we keep writing on the blog, the pounding fist on the table here that demands attention isn’t the issue, per se, but rather the stakes. If the United States loses, it could well be over. Over!
It’s an unlikely scenario, but if you consider the consequences for U.S. Soccer, World Cup media and cultural presence in this country, recriminations, dismissals, etc. … yes, the stakes are enormous.
Johnson, ill with the flu, was held back in Germany for Friday’s match in Antigua. The plan was to meet the team in Kansas City. But he hasn’t responded and has now been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest.
U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman just told me by phone that there are no plans at present to add additional cover.
It wouldn’t shock me, however, if that changes.
Given the injuries to Landon Donovan and Brek Shea and the yellow card accumulation suspension to Jermaine Jones, that leaves the U.S. roster somewhat exposed. That gives Jurgen Klinsmann 16 players in the field from which to select.