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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

March 18, 2013
INEXPERIENCED BACKLINE
Klinsmann calls in 6 defenders who have 12 total WCQ games experience


Jurgen Klinsmann does not have much WCQ experience  across the USA backline.
Jurgen Klinsmann does not have much WCQ experience across the USA backline.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Monday called in a relatively inexperienced backline in World Cup qualifying for two vital games in the CONCACAF hexagonal round.

Six defenders called in to the 23-man roster for Friday's game (10pm ET/ESPN) vs. Costa Rica in Commerce City, Colo. and in Mexico on Tuesday, March 26 (10pm ET/ESPN, have exactly 12 games of qualifying experience, 11 combined between two players.

Geoff Cameron has made six qualifying appearances, while Clarence Goodson has five. Omar Gonzalez has one as Tony Beltran, Matt Besler and Justin Morrow have not play a WCQ match, at least not yet.

Veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra was not called into the team.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who has three shutouts in five qualifiers, is expected to replace injured Tim Howard in the net. A pair of Major League Soccer goalkeepers -- Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) are expected to be the back-ups.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was veteran Puebla midfielder DaMarcus Beasley getting another nod. He certainly brings the experience of 26 qualifying matches to the team. Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, Joe Corona, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Brek Shea also were selected at midfield.

Klinsman has plenty of firepower from which to select up front from Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez, Eddie Johnson and Terrence Boyd/

“We know we have a big task ahead of us, and we are confident our group will get the job done,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “Obviously there are many players out with injuries, and that means the next person in line has a chance to step up. Getting points at home in World Cup qualifying is huge, and we are looking forward to having an awesome crowd supporting us in Denver on Friday night.”

Long-time international Landon Donovan was not selected as he will return to training with the LA Galaxy later this month.

The U.S. team has been hit with a rash of injuries as eight players are unavailable for the matches in addition to Howard, who has broken bones is his back, other players carrying injuries are Edgar Castillo (facial fractures), Timmy Chandler (hamstring), Steve Cherundolo (knee), Fabian Johnson (hip), Jonathan Spector (ankle), Jose Torres (hamstring) and Danny Williams (illness).

The Americans host Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 10 p.m. on Friday (ESPN) before taking on El Tri in Azteca Stadium at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN) on March 26.


The U.S. roster:

DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake – 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 6/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 1/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby – 5/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes – 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla – 26/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake – 2/0), Michael Bradley (Roma – 20/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana – 1/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 10/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 – 6/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City – 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 4/0)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar – 18/6), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna – 2/0), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur – 27/11), Herculez Gomez (Santos – 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC – 12/10)
   
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