USMNT Update: Hejduk out for Wednesday, Altidore fit enough to start (and more)

Frankie Hejduk 1 (ISIphotos.com) 

U.S. national team defender Frankie Hejduk has been ruled out for Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier vs. Costa Rica. U.S. coach Bob Bradley confirmed on Wednesday that Hejduk wouldn't be able to overcome the recent groin injury that has kept him out of action with Columbus.

Bradley also revealed that forward Jozy Altidore is fit enough to start for the U.S. team on Wednesday if he is selected. Altidore has worked his way back from toe surgery and hasn't played a first-team match since scoring a hat-trick in the U.S. team's World Cup qualifying victory against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1st.

The Hejduk news isn't much of a surprise really, but it does let us know that Bradley will be left to choose between Jonathan Spector and Marvell Wynne for the right back spot. Given Spector's experience I'd say he has the edge.

Here are some more notes from Saprissa:

The turf at the Estadio Saprissa is awful. Imagine if you took the turf from Giants Stadium about eight years ago and laid it out at a gas station for about five years. Pour on a few years of rain and that's the bloated and tattered mess of a turf field Saprissa has. It bears very little resemblance to the turf you'd see at Qwest Field or even the current turf at Giants Stadium.

As for the stadium itself, I will get into the stadium tomorrow, and in an upcoming ESPN.com piece. I'll just say that it ain't pretty.

Ticket scalpers were outside Saprissa on Tuesday scalping tickets in bunches. The very best seats were going for $140 while the cheapest ran about $26. So yes, U.S. fans could find tickets if they came down, but you'd likely be surrounded by frenzied Costa Ricans.

One overzealous Costa Rican TV crew went a tad too far in trying to get some footage. A TV truck hoisted a camera what looked like 25-30 feet in the air, well above the walls of Saprissa Stadium and high enough to get a peek in at the U.S. team's closed-door training session. Whether that actually helps Costa Rica remains to be seen.

I know quite a few people weren't fans of my projected lineup with DaMarcus Beasley at left back. After talking to Bob Bradley tonight I have to say I wouldn't rule it out. Bradley had only good things to say about Beasley's performance as a left back against Trinidad & Tobago. Some fans have criticized the performance but he basically neutralized Carlos Edwards, one of the best right wingers in CONCACAF.

Bradley isn't usually one for saying anything that could be deemed controversial, but his response to the question of whether the United States and Costa Rica were now the best teams in CONCACAF should raise some eyebrows (particularly in Mexico). "Right now, yes," was Bradley's response. Of course, The United States and Costa Rica are currently first and second in the CONCACAF qualifying standings so Bradley didn't really say anythingthat wasn't true, but I'm sure some folks from other countries will run with that comment.

That's all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on these developments in the comments section below.

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52 Responses to USMNT Update: Hejduk out for Wednesday, Altidore fit enough to start (and more)

  1. Never First says:

    Hejduk just wanted the free trip to Costa Rica. Can’t blame him.

  2. RJ says:

    i think if altidore starts bradley might just try beasley at lb. he has confidence in him, and he has a ton more experience than bornstein and pearce. i think we could see a backline of spector, gooch, boca, beasley. midfield of dempsey, mastro, bradley, donovan. while altidore and ching start up top…and howard in goal of course

  3. patrick says:

    given the news at villareal, i think we should all want jozy in there for a (successful) full 90. He’s going to need the exposure to a new coach, and more game experience in a tough environment. One thing no one has mentioned, and I don’t think its a big deal but should be noted, is jozys experience on the artificial stuff. Obviously thats not a reason to start him, but its interesting to note.

  4. Matt Mathai says:

    Given Spector’s experience, and the fact that I don’t want Marvell Wynne anywhere near the field for our national team yet, I think the choice is pretty clear. A Premier League defender vs. someone who has trouble marking MLS wings. Hmmm, let me think..

    I know I sound real down on Wynne. The fact is that I hoped he’d have been much further along than he is. He has all the physical gifts – he just doesn’t seem to have learned the tactical and mental game well enough to be a national team regular. I hope he proves me wrong.

  5. patrick says:

    matt, it sounds like a young gooch, we can only hope

  6. Please start Spector. Ussain Bolt is fast. Doesn’t mean he would be a good RB for the USMNT.

  7. Bob says:

    Micronesia, no he would not make a good RB for the USMNT, but would make a great RB for the Jamacain NT

  8. Timoteo says:

    I think the atmosphere of the Premiership would make Spector more suitable for the job than Wynne. Call me crazy, but I don’t see Jozy ready for a match after a month off. Maybe start Charlie Davies and sub in Jozy late in the game.

  9. spencer says:

    I laugh at how we have to have a debate about whether to start Spector or not. He starts for a top 8 Premier Team. There shouldn’t be a question that he starts every game healthy.

  10. cbr says:

    spector for WCQ and Confederations CUp…Wynn for Gold Cup

  11. Never First says:

    It’s a bit of a stretch to call Spector a starter. He starts when others are injured and he happens to be healthy. West Ham is looking to deal him to Burnley this summer.

  12. Jose A. V. says:

    Can Altidore and Adu play at U-20 World Cup in Egypt if they wanted too?

  13. fenel says:

    This is not a friendly. All you people who are calling for Beasley at LB (experiment) are crazy. I prefer defenders in defense in games like these.

  14. Danny says:

    Who are we kidding? Ching will start up top ALONE. Jozy will sub on in the 2nd half. He’ll come on in about the 70th minute when we’re down 1-0. He’ll be expected to come salvage the point for us.

    We all know Ching will start up top alone. Bradley is looking for a point while prepping to grab the full 3 on Saturday against Honduras. Don’t be surprised to see Gooch either not start or come off in the 2nd half. We WILL see M. Bradley subbed off in this match. Coach Bradley does NOT want to see yellow and half our starters are carrying. We don’t want to head to Chicago down our best players.

    We’re in for a chippy, slow, possession-type match on Wednesday everyone. If you’re looking for high scores then don’t tune in. We’ll be lucky to see one score.

  15. RJ says:

    fenel, you would rather have heath pierce or bornstein in there then beasley? pierce cant make it on a 2 bundesliga team. bornstein has always looked like a very offensive LB. So you would rather put a younger more inexperienced bornstein out there just because he has always been labeled as a LB? In a match like this you need experience, beasley brings the same amount of defense for me, and is better suited to play in this environment.

  16. adam says:

    Beasley on the bench to begin.

    Altidore—Ching
    Landy–Torres–Bradley–Deuce
    Bornstein–Boca–Gooch–Spector

  17. Geoff S. says:

    The Beasley / Donovan combo on the left last game was extremely exciting. I’d love to see it again, but I’m not sure if we will if BB plays more defensive. If BB only starts one forward, its Chingy, but I would be excited to see Jozy get the start. As much as a W would be great, any result is a step forward!

  18. Jeff Parke says:

    Don’t sweat it.

    I’ll be filling in for Frankie.

    Rock the headband, baby!

  19. kofix5 says:

    Danny–interesting point you make about going with 1 striker.
    Does BoB change his formation up like that? I’ve heard he’s more of a bucket guy.
    We’ve never won there and going with 1 striker seems like preparing for a loss. But doing that to save players for the home game gives your theory some weight.

  20. kofix5 says:

    GO JEFF!

  21. Ryan G says:

    ¨Call me crazy, but I don’t see Jozy ready for a match after a month off.¨

    You´re crazy. Jozy hadn´t played for a month and a half before the last two WCQs and scored 4 goals in those 2 games.

  22. DJ says:

    I’m all for Jozy. Let him increase his lead over all other Concacaf qualifying scorers.

  23. JB says:

    Spector is a better defender than Hejduk anyway. Hejduk offers a bit more going forward, but defense will be at a premium in this game. Hejduk would have been a liability in this game.

  24. lasoccer says:

    Given that it’s hard to win at Saprissa, the turf is poor, we have many injuries, a few yellow cards and the following game will be in three days against a strong opponent, any chance Bradley fields a less-than-’A’-team of guys who many guys who normally wouldn’t get as much time?

  25. DJ says:

    Correction: He’s leading all scorers in Round 4

  26. sonicdeathmonkey says:

    I’m telling you folks, if Bradley doesn’t roll out the old 4-5-1 and play for the tie from the beginning, I would be stunned. That means Ching up top alone, and Altidore on the bench.

  27. petr says:

    lasoccer, I suppose there’s always a chance, but given the consequences of a loss (losing the top spot in the standings to Costa Rica), it would be a terrible idea.

    Pulling out a draw would be huge, because in essence, it takes 2 points away from Costa Rica, and obviously a win would be phenomenal (if unlikely).

  28. Jacob A. says:

    Frankie told Goff the turf was “comparable” to that of Rice-Eccles, so clearly that means…

    ADU GETS THE START!! He’s the only one with experience on a surface that bad! It makes perfect sense…

    No, but, really, it sounds like we’ll see the same lineup from the T&T, but with the right back switch, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

  29. CACuzcatlan says:

    Is the MLS Fantasy Corner going to show who’s out on international duty this week?

  30. RedLine55 says:

    Spector is by far superior to Wynne. But, I almost want to see him wait ’til the chicago HOMECOMING on saturday to start and not have to mess with his injury-prone body on that nasty turf.

  31. Greg B says:

    Bradley is kicking himself with his inadvertent, interesting response.

  32. Jason says:

    OK, I’ll update my projected roster.

    I still think BB will go with one up front. And I think DMB needs more looks at LB. This is as stern a test as one can get.

    ——-Timmaaay——-
    Spector–Gooch–Boca–DMB
    —–Bradley–Pablo—-
    Dempsey—Torres—-Donovan
    ———Ching———-

    Bench: Guzan, Califf, Bornstein, Clark, Adu, Altidore + ??.

    Last bench spot is up in the air. Could make a case for Kljestan, Feilhaber, Davies, or DeMerit.

    With BB’s past in mind, I’d say another CM (Benny or Kljestan).

  33. Hood_Rich says:

    ———Altidore—-Ching
    Donovan———————Dempsey
    ———-Torres—Bradley
    Bocanegra—Onyewu–Spector—Wynne
    —————Howard

    subs: Adu, Demerit, Davies, Kljestan, Guzan

  34. harry says:

    Thie will be interesting i bet we see The same lineup vs T&T which should keep us as 0-0 and then at the 60th minute put in Adu, to take control of our offense liek he usually does and make our attack better and going foward to overwhelm them(Again,which he usually does) and then we can et come away with the 1-0 win.

  35. Greg says:

    ——–Altidore—–Ching———
    Donovan———————Dempsey
    ———Clark—–Bradley———
    Beasley–Bocanegra–Onyewu–Spector
    —————Howard————–

  36. Steve says:

    Is Demerit such a bad option for center back and push Boca to the left for ONE GAME??? who knows? maybe Demerit does well.

  37. beckster says:

    Gotta go with Spector over Wynne. I couldn’t have said it better than Matt Mathai above.

  38. Mark says:

    I think we’ll see the same line-up that played against T&T with Spector starting.

    @Harry – are you Freddy’s agent or something? If the game is tied on the road, we’re unlikely to see Adu since he doesn’t play enough defense. At home, then I’d agree with that sub since it’s worth the risk to push for the win seeing as how Honduras won’t have their best offensive talent available.

  39. Isaac says:

    Good that Jozy can start; we need to see if he’s consistant away from home. Lineup:

    —————Altidore—-Ching———–

    Donovan—————————–Dempsey

    —————Mastroeni—Bradley———

    Beasley——Bocanegra—-Onyewu—-Spector

    ———————-Howard—————

  40. USA! says:

    Here’s hoping Torres gets some starts this summer…and is the first midfielder off the bench in case Mastro starts. We need better possession players, especially in games like this where composure on the ball will be critical.

  41. matt says:

    I don’t understand how you can have altidore, torres, and adu on the roster and not start them. They bring so much more to the table in terms of pure talent than several players that will likely feature in the starting line up. The fact that ching and mastroeni will probably start is indicative of Bob Bradley’s preference for “anti-football.” I know that Costa Rica is tough to beat at home, but we should really be playing our most skillful players, especially against concacaf opponents. We don’t need to bunker and we’re perfectly capable of winning this match by going out and attacking.

  42. plug 714 says:

    I’d like to see the USMNT go with this line-up.

    ———Altidore——–Ching———

    ——————-Torres————–

    Donovan————————–Dempsey

    —————–Bradley—————-

    Beasley—Onyewu—-Bocanegra——Spector

    —————–Howard—————–

  43. matt says:

    ———Altidore———–
    ———–Adu————–
    Donovan—-Torres—-Dempsey
    ———-Bradley———–
    Beasley–Boca–Gooch–Spector
    ———-Howard————-

  44. Wispy says:

    @ plug 714 — I totally agree. We should play attacking style soccer, and this means starting Altidore and Torres and giving Adu some time.

    Altidore——–Ching———

    ——————-Torres————–

    Donovan————————–Dempsey

    —————–Bradley—————-

    Beasley—Onyewu—-Bocanegra——Spector

    —————–Howard—————–

    Otherwise, if BB wants to just bunker down and play for a tie, then he may as well leave all those players on the bench and go with a 3-5-1 with Boca at LB and Pablo and Rico starting in the middle.

    ————-Ching————–

    Donovan——-Bradley———-Dempsey

    ———Pablo——-Rico————

    Bocanegra——Onyewu——–Spector

    ————–Howard—————-

  45. Wispy says:

    And by giving Adu some time, I mean bringing him on for Ching.

  46. T says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments so maybe this was already brought up.

    Does anybody think since Wynn plays on this stuff consistantly that he may have a better chance to get a start here? None of these guys are used to it and I like the thought of having Beas and Wynn on the wings. That would be a nightmare to try to get around.

  47. Joe in Florida says:

    Beasley will get shredded at LB. Imagine covering for someone in the middle of the box and going up to defend a cross in the air. For some reason I am so confident of this not working. Please do not do it Bob.

  48. Sean Monaghan says:

    I really don’t think alot of you guys realise how tough this game really is.

  49. Rainier says:

    The fact that Brian Ching is on the USMNT is depressing and shows how weak we are! Brian Ching sucks!

  50. JB says:

    Ching has been outstanding in this year’s WCQs so far. If you are talking about pure talent, I understand the hate. But, it isn’t based on his actual play which has been stellar. Did you see that directional header against T&T? That was a near world class play with the ball in the air to set up Altidore’s first goal.

  51. matt says:

    JB – Ching has not been outstanding, he’s been ok at best. He plays forward and is incapable of either scoring or running at defenders (two qualities which are rather important in a forward). We need to start our players that actually have skill on the ball. Bob Bradley’s defensive long ball tactics belong in the coca-cola championship and will not get us very far beyond three and out at the 2010 WC.

  52. Brett says:

    Ching does his part to set up goals but I think Dempsey is a much better choice for his role. Clint is far more creative, both in his distribution and his his runs off the ball. Deuce also works harder on defense.

    Ching’s only asset is his ability to play with his back to the goal, but Demps has even added that wrinkle to his game when he plays as a striker for Fulham.

    That said, Ching will start and routinely kill attacks for us, and Dempsey will get pushed out to his SMF spot for most of the match where he will run up and down the flanks but struggle to get looks at goal.

    I do think we gotta go with Altidore and Adu in at least one of these games. Both those kids are hungry and need strong showings to impress new managers.