Post by Luke Lohr
When the United States face Costa Rica and Mexico later this month, they will be without many familiar faces including Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan and Tim Howard.
The release of the 23-man US roster by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann can only be called 'makeshift' at his point. Injuries, sabaticals and decisions seemingly based on form will see a very different side than was previously witnessed in the 2-1 opening loss to Honduras.
Broken bones in Tim Howard's back have forced him out and paved the way for perrenial backup Brad Guzan to take a moment in the spotlight. Guzan is expected to start over veteran Nick Rimando or Sean Johnson, who are also on the roster.
While the goalkeeping slot is fairly assured, the back line is less easy to predict. Carlos Bocanegra has been left off the roster by Klinsmann for what many are assuming is a falling out of favor due to age and form. Also out from the roster is Fabian Johnson (hip injury) and Edgar Castillo (facial fractures). In their stead will be relative newcomers Tony Beltran of Real Salt Lake and Justin Morrow of the San Jose Earthquakes. The more experienced defenders in the group include Geoff Cameron and Clarence Goodson. Matt Besler of Sporting Kansas City and Omar Gonzalez were also included.
Many eyes will be on Gonzalez in Azteca to see if he truly is ready to take the reigns of the US back line. It is possible that Maurice Edu would man the middle of the defense, though that has yielded mixed results in the past.
Familiar faces that are in camp include Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, DaMarcus Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Jermaine Jones and Terrence Boyd are included on the roster for a distinctly familiar German vibe. Herculez Gomez and Clint Dempsey have also been included and will likely take the field, particularly against Mexico.
The United States face Costa Rica Friday at 10pm (ESPN) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado. Following that match they travel to Mexico for a March 26th match (ESPN) at Azteca in Mexico City.
US ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa - 5/3 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire - 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake - 0/0)
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)