Americans Abroad: Brek Shea Continues Comeback, Disaster for US in Costa Rica
Most of the action this week for Americans playing abroad took place in Costa Rica, as the U.S.' top stars put together a disastrous performance in World Cup qualifying. Catch up on all the post-game debate, including John Anthony Brooks' release from the squad, the injury to Michael Bradley, the Sacha Kljestan snub, the Jermaine Jones conundrum and the U.S. goalkeeper debate.
There was also action from Mexico where Greg Garza continues to impress and, in England, where Brek Shea made more progress in his recovery from injury.
Check all that out and much, much more in this week's Americans Abroad wrap.
The English Premier League Boys
Most of the English Premier League contingent was on duty this past week with the USMNT, but there was some positive news on the injury front for Brek Shea.
For much of the last year, Shea has been limited in his minutes due to foot, calf and knee injuries. However, on Thursday, Shea put in a 90-minute effort with Stoke's U-21 team as he continues his recovery.
Jozy Altidore managed to recover from a hamstring injury last weekend to come on as a 71st-minute substitute in the U.S.' 3-1 loss to Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying on Friday night, but Altidore picked up a silly yellow card and will now miss the team's match against Mexico this Tuesday.
Geoff Cameron made a surprise start in the U.S.' game against Costa Rica, replacing Michael Bradley, who was injured during the warmup. Cameron also picked up a yellow card in the game and will miss the match against Mexico.
Cameron also took to Twitter to complain about the card with some unsavory language.
Tim Howard played 90 minutes against Costa Rica on Friday, but was blamed by many for Costa Rica's second and third goals, leading to at least one poll in which USMNT fans called for Brad Guzan to be given the start Tuesday against Mexico.
Just sayin' pic.twitter.com/2x4kchqLhB— American Soccer Now (@ThisIsASN) September 8, 2013
Brad Guzan was called up for the USMNT, but was on the bench for the match against Costa Rica.
Maurice Edu is still recovering from off-season surgery.
Jermaine Jones played 90 minutes for the USMNT in international action against Costa Rica, but put in another contentious performance. He managed to lose possession a team-leading 22 times in the game and was at least partially culpable on two of Costa Rica's goals. He received a match rating of four out of 10 from the highly-respected New York Times soccer writer Brian Sciaretta.
John Anthony Brooks did not play against Costa Rica and was, somewhat surprisingly, released back to his club after the Costa Rica match and will not be available to play against Mexico. While reports published before the Costa Rica match, tweeted by Doug McIntyre of ESPN, stated Brooks would be released back to Hertha after the game, subsequent reports stated this was untrue.
Spokesman tells me #USMNT has no agreement to send John Brooks back to Hertha after Costa Rica match. Changes are at Klinsmann’s discretion.— Liviu Bird (@liviubird) August 29, 2013
Brooks is still not cap-tied to the U.S. and is eligible to represent Germany internationally. Additionally, with Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler both suspended for the Mexico match, Brooks' services seem to be desperately needed.
Fabian Johnson played 71 minutes against Costa Rica.
Michael Parkhurst was a late call-up to the USMNT, replacing an injured Brad Evans, but did not play against Costa Rica. He may be needed against Mexico, however, considering the fact that Michael Orozco may be dropped after a sub-par performance against Costa Rica.
Steve Cherundolo is still recovering from injury. Timmy Chandler was not called up for international duty.
In the English Championship
None of the six Americans playing in the English Championship were called in for international duty. Although, with the injury to Brad Evans and the sub-par performance of Michael Orozco against Costa Rica, many USMNT fans and writers still think Eric Lichaj should be on the roster.
Call in Lichaj. Just do it. #USMNT— The Twelfth Yank (@twelfthyank) September 7, 2013
Klinsmann said he didn't want to callup Lichaj as it wasn't time for experiments. Was giving Orozco his 1st #usmnt RB start an experiement?— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 7, 2013
Elsewhere in Europe
Michael Bradley was set to start for the USMNT against Costa Rica, but suffered a ghastly injury during pregame warmups and looks to be out for a long stretch.
Aron Johannsson made his World Cup qualifying debut with the U.S. against Costa Rica, coming on as a 90th-minute substitute.
Alejandro Bedoya and Mix Diskerud are both on the squad, but were not used against Costa Rica. However, with the U.S.' injuries and suspensions, both are considered contenders to start against Mexico on Tuesday in Columbus.
Sacha Kljestan was a surprise exclusion from the original U.S. roster released last week, but, even more surprisingly, he was not called in despite Bradley's injury and Geoff Cameron's suspension. Instead, Klinsmann called in three other midfielders in Brad Davis, Joe Corona and Jose Torres as reinforcements (Clarence Goodson was also called in for the defense).
While Kljestan plays Champions League football for Belgian champions Anderlecht, he is apparently surplus to the needs of the USMNT. He also happens to be stateside at the moment, enjoying his weekend off in new York City.
Morning walk in Central Park. NYC is beautiful in the early morning.— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) September 7, 2013
Terrence Boyd was not called in for international duty.
South of the Border
Liga MX, like Major League Soccer and several other smaller leagues, did not break for the international fixtures this week, so there was some game action from Mexico.
Tijuana won 3-0 over Veracruz with Greg Garza starting and going the distance. He continues to receive positive reviews for his play and could work his way into the USMNT picture sooner rather than later. Paul Arriola was a 59th-minute substitution for Tijuana. Herculez Gomez is still recovering from injury.
Another impressive display from Greg Garza at left back for Xolos. Maturing all the time with games under his belt. #USMNT— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) September 8, 2013
Jose Torres played the first half of Tigres' 3-3 draw with Guadalajara. Along with Tijuana's Joe Corona, he will be joining the USMNT in Columbus as a late call-in to the squad.
Alonso Hernandez made the 18, but did not play for Monterrey in their 1-0 loss to America. Benji Joya did not make the squad for Santos.
On Friday night, DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco manned the left and right sides of the U.S.' defense, respectively, but both were widely criticized for failing to prevent Costa Rica's attacks on the U.S. flanks. Edgar Castillo was an unused substitute for the U.S. against Costa Rica.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnDHalloran
Follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/AmericanTouchline