Five U.S. players, including two of the three most important difference-makers, will be on yellow card warning as they do the work in a few hours in San Pedro Sula.
The list: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi. If any of them collect a yellow card against Honduras, they will miss the team’s next World Cup qualifier, March 22 against Costa Rica.
It’s a tricky situation, because that March 22 match in Denver sets up as the most important U.S. match until June. That is no exaggeration.
As Richard Farley spelled out earlier in his excellent dissection of the points needed for safe passage into Brazil ’14, winning at home is always a primary target in World Cup qualifying.
Unless the United States can take six points from its first three road matches (including one at Mexico – yikes!), getting all three points in that match against Costa Rica is essential, if only to hold off any public panic.
A match in Denver without Edu or Zusi is manageable. Johnson’s absence would sting. Dempsey or Bradley being out would be a real body blow.
Five Hondurans are also on yellow card warning: Victor Bernárdez, Carlo Costly, Maynor Figueroa, Arnold Peralta and Mauricio Sabillon.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.