Dempsey late scratch for US with tight groin

The Associated Press
Dempsey late scratch for US with tight groin
Ukraine's Artem Fedets'kyy, left, fights for the ball with Fabian Johnson of the U.S. during an international friendly soccer match at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium in southern city of Larnaca, Cyprus, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The Ukrainians are to face the United States in a friendly on Wednesday in Cyprus, a match moved from Kharkiv to Larnaca for security reasons. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Captain Clint Dempsey is a late scratch for the United States against Azerbaijan because of a groin injury and was replaced by Chris Wondolowski at forward in the starting lineup.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard became the captain in place of Dempsey. Wondolowski, a local favorite from nearby Danville and a San Jose Earthquakes star, had nine goals in his previous 10 appearances with the national team.

Fabian Johnson was picked to start at right back in the first of three World Cup warmups for the Americans.

Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron were the central defenders, picked over Omar Gonzalez. DaMarcus Beasley, looking to become the first American to appear in four World Cups, was at left back.

Besler and Cameron played together in the middle once previously, against Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier on Oct. 11.