KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Day by day, the resources at Jurgen Klinsmann’s disposal have dwindled. Not that you can sense much concern emanating from the US manager.
Even with the likes of Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, Edgar Castillo, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones ruled out due to injury, illness and, finally, yellow-card accumulation, Klinsmann doesn’t seem too worried ahead of Tuesday’s vital match against Guatemala (7 pm ET, ESPN2/TeleFutura, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com), one that will determine whether the US move onto the Hexagonal, CONCACAF’s final round of World Cup qualifying.
“We think that this group, being together for more than a week, gives us enough options to deal with those problems that came up, if it’s injuries or yellow cards with Jermaine,” Klinsmann said. “We feel like we are strong enough to take care of Guatemala tomorrow night with the players that are here.”
The most recent loss is Johnson, who was expected to join the US here but didn’t recover from a stomach bug in time to participate. The scratch was announced on Sunday after information coming out of Germany suggested the versatile left-sider was still too ill to make the trip.
According to Klinsmann, Johnson had been making steady progress last week until a late setback finally ruled him out, and even caused his German club to have him briefly hospitalized.
“He trained Thursday morning in Hoffenheim,” Klinsmann said. “He had to stop training, and he even felt worse. [On] Friday, they were not sure if he had a salmonella issue, so they actually sent him to the hospital. I was speaking to him directly and he said, ‘Well, I’m just not there yet.’ Then we said it makes no sense [to bring him in].”
The Galaxy are hopeful Donovan’s knock won’t rule him out for a long period of time, but Klinsmann indicated that Shea’s abdominal issues could, and perhaps should, rule him out of action in the immediate future.
“It made no sense at all to carry [Shea] through the camp. It makes no sense at all for him to go back playing,” Klinsmann said. “He should take care of it. It’s a longer process that he has to go through. We offered him different steps for the next couple weeks. If those steps are followed through is totally up to FC Dallas because they have the main responsibility in these terms.”
Still, those absences don’t change the US’ goals or aspirations for their final group game in CONCACAF’s semifinal stage.
They must tie or beat Guatemala or hope Jamaica fails make up the current gap in goal differential, even if it has to be done with a roster missing five key cogs.
“Every case is different. We just adjust to that individual case and we make the best out of it,” Klinsmann said. “It’s a bummer when you get smaller and smaller.”