Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljesten were sent home from United States men’s national team camp following the team’s 0-0 draw against Serbia on Sunday.
Jones will not play in March’s World Cup qualifiers due to suspension, so Bruce Arena sent him home to get used to his new LA Galaxy teammates.
And Kljestan’s wife is giving birth, meaning he won’t play against Jamaica.
That opens up the midfield for several U.S. players to seize an opportunity on Friday.
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It shouldn’t be hard for any one player to make a statement given the lackluster attacking performance from the MLS-only squad.
Darlington Nagbe and Sebastian Lletget both impressed against Serbia, granted they stood out in a match that was offensively uninspiring.
Benny Feilhaber didn’t get a ton of time to make an impact, and had a moment or two in his quarter-hour return to the fold. Chris Pontius came close to scoring during his 25-plus minutes, but neither ran wild against a team which entered the day with a combined eight caps.
The only U.S. midfield player not to get a run was Dax McCarty, and it seems likely the new Chicago Fire man will see plenty of time against Jamaica.
Perhaps Arena will line ’em up like so:
Zusi — Zimmerman — Evans — Villafana
McCarty — Bradley
Nagbe — Feilhaber — Bedoya
Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.
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Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.
Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.
France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.
Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.
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Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):
At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.
When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.
What do you think?
Argentina took steps backward Tuesday in its pursuit of a 2018 World Cup berth, on and off the field.
It started as Lionel Messi was suspended four matches for verbally abusing a referee in Argentina’s Friday win over Chile.
Then La Albiceleste made another move in reverse with a shocking 2-0 loss to Bolivia in La Paz. Argentina started Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the bench in what many presumed to be an easy win.
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Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins scored as ninth-place La Verde picked up its third win of qualifying with a win over powerful Argentina.
The bad news kept coming for Argentina (and Everton), as Ramiro Funes Mori left the match in the 36th minute with injury.
Bolivia will finish the international break at least 10 points back of the playoff spot, while Argentina could finish as low as that fifth-place spot.
CONCACAF’s bottom three sides in the Hex standings look to make the table incredibly tight as World Cup qualifying finds three-straight matches on the docket beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.
Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Los Catrachos were creamed 6-0 by the U.S. on Friday, and return home hoping a wounded Costa Rica remains vulnerable. Honduras is dead last on goal differential, but three points would be huge and put them level with Los Ticos. Costa Rica won its first two matches before falling to Mexico on Friday.
Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico
El Tri has two wins and a draw from their first three Hex matches, and will be without Rafa Marquez on Tuesday. A win guarantees Mexico the top spot heading into the next round of matches in June. The Soca Warriors surprised some with their 1-0 win over visiting Panama on Tuesday. Mexico is a different class.
Panama vs. USMNT
Despite its miserable start, the U.S. can find itself as high as second with a win and help from Honduras. The injuries remain plenty for the Yanks, who are without Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, and John Brooks. Panama has allowed just a single goal through three Hex matches, but also has only managed one.