U.S. linchpin midfielder Michael Bradley and emerging defender Anthony Brooks are not far enough along in their respective injury recoveries and will not be among the players named Thursday for the remaining pair of U.S. national team final round World Cup qualifiers.
That’s according to U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann, whose comments to a small group of reporters during Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup final were confirmed Wednesday morning by a U.S. Soccer spokesman.
Klinsmann also said he expects to name Clint Dempsey, who has missed the Seattle Sounders last two MLS matches with a hamstring injury. Same goes for U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones, who was benched recently at Schalke but is otherwise healthy, despite reports that said otherwise.
The United States, already with a berth secured in next summer’s World Cup finals, faces Jamaica next week in Kansas City, then plays its World Cup qualifier finale (the last of 16 along the way) at Panama four nights later.
The U.S. manager had hoped to field a top squad for both contests, even though they are essentially meaningless from an official standpoint. Klinsmann, however, has stressed the opportunity for fine tuning, given the lack of time he will have his top group between now and next summer’s World Cup.
The loss of Bradley (pictured) is the most damaging, given his essential, linking role.