Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Monday he called up target strikers with good heading ability because it was likely that the Americans were going to be forced to settle for whipped in crosses in their two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Well, Klinsmann will not be getting any of those crosses from Landon Donovan or Brek Shea.
Donovan and Shea have been ruled out for the Americans' upcoming qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday and Guatemala next Tuesday. Both entered the camp with knocks and underwent medical evaluations by the team staff on Tuesday morning, only to be ruled out and sent back to their respective clubs. Klinsmann has the option to replace them on the roster, but he is not expected to summon any at this time.
"It's unfortunate for Landon and Brek that they won't be able to play," said Klinsmann via a press release. "Landon was very optimistic over the weekend when his knee was feeling much better, but now he needs time to recover. We knew Brek was a question mark coming in, and now we have a clear picture of where he stands. We feel confident that the group we have will get the job done."
Donovan had suffered a left knee injury on Saturday in the LA Galaxy's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake but he said it felt better on Sunday, and he skipped an MRI in Los Angeles to fly to Miami on Monday. Shea, meanwhile, had been carrying his knock since FC Dallas' 3-3 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 30.
Donovan and Shea's absences now leave the U.S. with two fewer wide options on a team littered with central midfielders. Graham Zusi, Fabian Johnson, Edgar Castillo and Sacha Kljestan can all be deployed out wide in the midfield, but that is not a position any of them play regularly for their clubs.
What do you make of this development? Starting to worry about the U.S. team's chances of getting results? Who would you like to see in Donovan and Shea's spots?
Share your thoughts below.