SEATTLE – There will be a few key pieces missing from the United States national team in their World Cup qualifier against Panama on Tuesday (9:30 pm ET, ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Graham Zusi will be out with yellow-card accumulation, Danny Williams has already been sent home and Jurgen Klinsmann said it “was probably too early” for Herculez Gomez, while Jermaine Jones will undergo concussion tests on Monday to determine if he’s capable of playing.
Klinsmann didn’t seem particularly worried, though.
“We’re good with the squad we have,” the US manager told reporters during halftime of Saturday’s Seattle Sounders game. “There’s no need to bring in more players as of today. Even if we don’t dress 23, we’re covered everywhere.”
If healthy, Williams probably would have been the natural replacement for Jones, who was forced out of Friday’s qualifier after taking a blow to the head. Klinsmann had held out hope that Williams’ ankle would have improved enough by now, but after flying with the team to Seattle he was excused.
“It’s a case where it’s everyday catching up, catching up and we looked at him,” Klinsmann said. “We decided with the coach at Hoffenheim to release him, let him go on vacation, get him some rest and start the next season a fresh foot.”
If Jones can’t play that will cost the United States one of their main midfield engines. The much more defensive-minded Geoff Cameron replaced him on Friday.
Zusi’s absence will mean the United States would also be without someone who has emerged as the team’s top playmaker.
“It’s a pity because he’s in really good shape right now,” Klinsmann said about Zusi. “Not only is he providing great assists for Jozy [Altidore], but his overall game is really sharp. It’s a bummer for him, but this is what happens. There are enough players on our roster that can cover him up.”
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