Jurgen Klinsmann talks injuries, absences ahead of USMNT’s Tuesday qualifier vs. Panama

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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.

(MORE: Adaptability evident on left side of U.S. defense.)

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.

Graham Zusi

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.”

(MORE: Jamaica-to-Seattle gives U.S. long trip, quick turnaround.)

Jermaine Jones

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.

Herculez Gomez

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.”

(MORE: The data collection from the U.S. defense’s 2013 performances.)

Danny Williams

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.”

Brek Shea

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.

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia

MLS (afternoon) roundup: Historically awful MNUFC spanked again

Photo credit: New England Revolution / Twitter: @NERevolution
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The fourth (partial — playing during international breaks should be banned) MLS Saturday of 2017 is two-thirds of the way complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

New England Revolution 5-2 Minnesota United

What else needs to be said about Minnesota at this point? What else can be said? The number of goals they’ve conceded in their first four MLS games: 5, 6, 2, and 5. While (we think) a bit of luck will eventually go their way, and they’ll curtail the goals they’re conceding (we can’t be sure anymore), Adrian Heath’s side is on pace to conceded 153 goals this season.

Anyway, New England picked up their first win of the season. The quality (and ease) of goals scored will tell you everything you need to know about Minnesota’s defending.

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Real Salt Lake

Five days after firing head coach Jeff Cassar, RSL returned to their inept, toothless ways in a scoreless draw away to New York. Through four games, the Claret and Cobalt have scored all of one goal, and genuinely look the league’s most lifeless side; Minnesota have at least shown signs of quality in the attacking half.

On Saturday, New York created the majority of the game’s best chances — a pair of shots from distance, masterfully saved by deputy goalkeeper Matt VanOekel — but the chance that will live in the memories of RSL fans for a lifetime came and went in agonizing fashion.