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U.S. thin at outside back for Mexico friendly

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International Friendly Preview: United States - Mexico
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International Friendly Preview: United States - Mexico

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Once again, the U.S. has run into issues at outside back.

The starting full backs who played the majority of the final round of the World Cup qualification campaign aren't in Arizona for the friendly against Mexico. Brad Evans is still nursing a calf injury. DaMarcus Beasley was denied release by Puebla after initially being named to the American roster.

It's a familiar scenario for the national team, in both distant and recent history. The left back position always seems to be a trouble spot for the United States, and both Beasley and Evans are converted midfielders who still line up further up the pitch for their club teams.

So there could be real opportunity for the players who step up and try to fill those roles Wednesday.

DeAndre Yedlin, who plays right back for Evans' club team the Seattle Sounders, could be set to fill one of those spots.

"I felt good," the 20-year-old said of his first experience with the senior team in January. "I think I got off to a little bit of a slow start. I think just kind of a little bit overwhelming, but once things settled down, I got comfortable, started doing a little better."

Yedlin might have to play right back while Michael Parkhurst, who made an offseason move to the Columbus Crew, could fill in at left back, a role he played in the United States' 2-0 victory against Korea at the close of the January training camp.

Omar Gonzalez, who along with Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler seems to have his name written in ink into Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup squad, said Beasley and Evans will be missed but the potential replacements can do a fine job on the outside.

"I'd love for those guys to be here because I am comfortable with them being on the field, but I think it's another opportunity for me to play with the new guys and make sure that I'm focused," the center back said. "It gives me the opportunity to be more vocal and make sure that I impose myself and make sure that I'm being a good leader and talking to the guys and putting in a good showing on Wednesday. I just think it's another opportunity to keep on improving."

The lack of consistency at outside back has undoubtedly been frustrating for fans and perhaps the coaching staff, though they're yet to admit it. Wednesday's match, as most U.S. matches seem to, will spotlight the full backs once again. The light in which it does so will be determined on the pitch.

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