Tim Howard’s out, Clint Dempsey’s iffy, and Landon Donovan’s in Cambodia. Who else is out or in doubt for the U.S.’s upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico?
Fabian Johnson, that’s who. The Hoffenheim left-sider missed today’s game with what one German outlet described as “muscular problems.”
Before we get too deep into this, realize Johnson was listed as questionable. True, that turned into ‘out’ when he missed today’s kickoff at Greuther Furth, but he’s not as outright injured as somebody who was ruled out entirely. With 13 days until the U.S. hosts Costa Rica, it’s probable the muscular problems could improve enough for Johnson to make the qualifiers.
But let’s go down this rabbit hole and consider the scenarios if Johnson’s out. That would leave Tijuana’s Edgar Castillo next in line, right? Yeah, except for the broken bones in his face, for which he just underwent surgery. He’s doubtful for the next set of qualifiers.
I guess that leaves Carlos Bocanegra. Too bad he hasn’t been playing for Racing Santander. How comfortable should Jurgen Klinsmann be dropping the veteran into the team when he’s not playing in the Spanish second division.
We’ve seen Jose Torres out there before, but that was against much lesser competition (at home against Antigua and Barbuda).
Michael Parkhurt could be an option, but after that we’re grasping at straws. Does somebody like Justin Morrow get called in?
If Johnson isn’t ready this time next week, we might be asking that question. Does a player who has one, January cap get called in ahead of a game the U.S. really needs to win?
Let’s wait and see before answering that one.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday