Heath Pearce and Zach Loyd have both started matches at left back for the United States in 2012, so they are the most likely, 11th-hour call-ups who could provide additional cover at left back should U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann go that direction.
Pearce (pictured), a longtime outside back who plays centrally for the Red Bulls, manned the left side as the United States opened its first full year under Klinsmann with a 1-0 win over Venezuela at the Home Depot Center earlier this year.
He graded out an “just OK” by most accounts, but his 72nd-minute replacement was afforded better marks for adding some peppiness to the attack along the American left side. FC Dallas’ Zach Loyd apparently impressed Klinsmann enough, too.
Loyd started the subsequent contest a few nights later down in Panama, but an injury late in the first half of the 1-0 win removed the FC Dallas man from that one.
Either man is presumably available.
More likely is that Klinsmann just picks from the players who flew into Kansas City from Antigua on Saturday. (They have one practice today, a public workout that went on Sunday morning.)
Given that the United States needs only a draw, Klinsmann might be inclined to go slightly more defensive anyway. That means Carlos Bocanegra, the captain and central defensive veteran who doesn’t offer much push up the left side, but does bring that veteran wisdom, calm and reassuring experience.
Of course, if Klinsmann wants to add pressure into higher areas – and that is, after all, among the primary tenets of the style he is attempting to implement – he needs more speed and attacking ability. That could mean a make-shift left back gambit, something like what we saw in June when Jose Torres surprisingly manned the position in a home contest against Antigua.
Sacha Kljestan, maybe? Danny Williams, anyone?
Given Klinsmann and his propensity for the unexpected, would anything really surprise any of us?
(UPDATE, 6:45 p.m. ET Sunday: Michael Parkhurst apparently worked out at left back Sunday, so he could be an option, too.)