Injuries might keep new U.S. soccer lineup from a World Cup

By Jacob Onak

Jurgen Klinsmann, U.S. soccer head coach, has released his 23-man roster for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. As we see in the roster selection, injuries have really put the U.S.’s back against the wall.

The Yanks will be without first-choice goalkeeper Tim Howard, top two right backs Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler, and their top two left backs in Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo.

Those injuries are just in defense–scary. I know. In the midfield, Danny Williams and Jose Torres are injured, but they don’t raise as much concern as the backline.

With the absences in the back, Brad Guzan will get the start in the net, a move I have no problem with. Guzan has been tremendous for his club, Aston Villa, despite backline issues of its own. The Homer Glen, Ill., native is more than capable in the net for the U.S.

In defense, Klinsmann has called in center backs Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke), Clarence Goodson (Brondby) and Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), a crew that has 12 World Cup Qualifying caps between them. Yes, only 12. Cameron leads the group with six caps, followed by Goodson with five, and Gonzalez has his one cap that he got in the most recent loss to Honduras.

The outside backs that were called in were Real Salt Lake’s Tony Beltran and San Jose’s Justin Morrow, both with just one international match under their belt, and both with no qualifying experience.

In my eyes, the U.S. are going to have a tough time handling not only the Costa Rica attack, but also the dangerous Mexico attack. More importantly, where is team captain Carlos Bocanegra? Granted, Bocanegra is in the second division in Spain with Racing Santander and doesn’t get as many minutes as he would like, but the guy has more than 100 caps for the U.S., has played in two World Cups and is the most experienced defender the U.S. has.

I don’t care if he doesn’t play in the qualifiers, but Bocanegra needs to be in that squad. I don’t care if he doesn’t start, but he needs to be there to help the young defenders out and needs to be there to be a reliable backup in case things go south. He has worn the captain’s armband since 2007 and bleeds red, white and blue.

The key for these matches is Michael Bradley. With Clint Dempsey’s recent injury struggles, Bradley will need to be at his best and is a strong candidate to take the armband. Despite being only 26 years old, Bradley will need to help this young back line in these two crucial qualifiers.