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.