SEATTLE, Wash. — Expect more than your typical glut of lineup speculation ahead of their qualifier against Panama, because with collection of nagging injuries and one key suspension, the U.S. will have to come up with a new tweak ahead of their Tuesday’s match in Seattle.
Don’t feel too bad, for them, though. Panama’s already suffered a huge loss, with veteran target man Blas Pérez ruled out with gastrointestinal problems. With the possible exception of Michael Bradley, there’s no loss the U.S. could suffer that would have as big an effect on their Tuesday chances.
Klinsmann deserves some credit for that. It’s been a rough haul, in the minds of many U.S. Men’s National Team fans, but Klinsmann has forged a team that’s capable of dealing with a myriad of obstacles. Dempsey tired? Altidore slumping? Howard out, or full backs falling by the wayside? In Klinsmann’s mind, those are things good teams should be training to overcome.
So although availability issues are effecting the likes of Jones, Zusi, and Gomez ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier, Klinsmann remains positive. And he’s not calling in any reinforcements.
“At the moment we’re all good with the squad we have,” the U.S. boss said, asked Saturday whether injury concerns would spur reinforcements ahead of Panama or the following clash, with Honduras. “There’s not need that we need to bring in more players, as of today … even if we don’t dress 23. We’re good. We’re covered everywhere.”
During halftime of Saturday’s Sounders-Whitecaps match, Klinsmann address five players’ status, contributors ranging from vital starters to potential bench options.
On Friday, Zusi picked up a yellow card ahead of Jamaica’s only goal, a booking that sees him suspended for Tuesday’s match.
While Klinsmann laments the loss, he’s keeping the suspension in perspective:
“It’s a pity because [Zusi’s] in a really good shape right now, (and) not only providing great assists for Jozy – that happened two games in a row. His overall game is very consistent, very sharp. Defensively he’s helping the team a lot.
“It’s a bummer for him, but we went into those games with quite a few players on yellow cards, and this is what happens. These moments happen. You have to fix them. There are enough players on our roster that (they) can cover (for) him and come in and play their role.
“It’s a pity he’s not there.”
Having suffered a concussion in the second half against Jamaica, the Schalke midfielder could prove the U.S.’s more vital loss. Whomever comes in to partner Michael Bradley (assuming Klinsmann even stays with the same formation if Jones is out) would represent a distinct style change from the Jones’ bulldozing presence.
“Jermaine, he will get a couple of tests on Monday morning, so we’re taking it slow on him.”
For Klinsmann’s quote you can infer Jones may be excused from Sunday’s practice at CenturyLink.
The new Tijuana man would be a possibility on the right with Zusi suspended … if he were healthy. Klinsmann, however, confirmed Gomez’s right knee problem will likely keep him out of the Panama match:
“Herc is one step at a time. It’s probably going to be too early Tuesday night.”
Williams has been a source of minor controversy and misunderstanding, his Instagram pictures en route to Las Vegas lacking the context Klinsmann provided Saturday night.
“With Danny Williams, we tried everyday – catching up, catching up. We looked at him, and I took the decision together with the coach at Hoffenheim to release him and let him go on vacation and get him some rest and then start the next season on fresh foot, basically. He came with us to Seattle and then from here he left us and went on vacation.”
The Stoke City wide man hasn’t been with the team, but his name come up Saturday as a possible option, with the tall Texan back in his old stomping grounds, rehabilitating a calf injury:
“We’re going to test him in the upcoming week. He did a lot of work in Dallas. We have another place to have added performance (testing) in Dallas, so we want to run him through a test barrier, we call it, and see where he’s at.
“There’s no rush for him coming back into the group. He’s going to be also available for the Gold Cup.
“Right now, we feel like we’re covered everywhere, so no hurry on Brek, but we’re pleased that he has no complaints high now on his calf, so every day is a good day to catch up.