U.S. national team captain Carlos Bocanegra is a healthy scratch from manager Jurgen Klinsmann's surprise-laden roster for the upcoming pair of World Cup qualifiers. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
The exclusion of Bocanegra, who has not played for his club Racing Santander since Feb. 2 and was an unused substitute in the CONCACAF Hexagonal-opening loss to Honduras, is one of a number of major developments ahead of the matches against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on March 22 and the match against Mexico at Estadio Azetca in Mexico City on March 26.
Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron will be the center back options in Bocanegra's place, while Real Salt Lake's Tony Beltran and San Jose Earthquakes Justin Morrow are the only fullback options on the 23-man roster. The six have a combined 12 caps.
Injuries claimed the availability of fullback options Timmy Chandler (hamstring), Edgar Castillo (face), Fabian Johnson (hip), Steve Cherundolo (knee) and Jonathan Spector (ankle). Danny Wiliams (illness) and Jose Torres (hamstring) are unavailable midfield options, and Landon Donovan remains unavailable as he has yet to return from his playing hiatus. He is expected to rejoin the Los Angeles Galaxy during the last week of March.
Clint Dempsey's return from a calf injury for Tottenham on Sunday put him in line to return for the USA, and he'll be joined in the attack by Jozy Altidore -- fresh off scoring his 25th goal of the season -- Herculez Gomez, Terrence Boyd and Eddie Johnson.
As expected, Brad Guzan will enter U.S. camp as the No. 1 goalkeeper in Tim Howard's injury-induced absence. He'll be backed up by Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando and the Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson.
Here is the U.S. roster in full:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
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- Sports & Recreation
- Carlos Bocanegra
- Real Salt Lake
- Jurgen Klinsmann
- Geoff Cameron
- Matt Besler
- Omar Gonzalez
- Clarence Goodson
- Tony Beltran