U.S. battles injuries, idleness ahead of World Cup opener against Ghana on June 11
The U.S. men’s national team will face Ghana in their first World Cup Qualifier game as they look to make the group stages for the first time since 1994.
However, injuries and player illness are both expected be a problem on the field.
As a result, coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he would not use the player pool until later in the tournament. Instead, he would look for young players to compete in the tournament and to help a depleted team.
He also hinted he would not start any of his regulars up top, instead leaving them at home to rest.
“The last part of the tournament we will have a look for maybe six or seven or eight young players who have some level of potential and should be able to play,” Klinsmann said. “If we feel that, in a tournament like this, that those young players can help us in the next game, then we will use them. We will look for young players. We will see if we can maybe give some minutes to a youngster who has some ability. We’re not going to have our usual starters.
“This game should not be a problem for everybody.”
Midfielder Michael Bradley missed practice Wednesday but is expected to play. Klinsmann said it was just a one-day absence but he will not rush his midfielder back.
Midfielder Timmy Chandler (concussion) was among those who missed practice but he said he was able to play and that he was inching toward full practice ahead of the Ghana game.
Midfielder Fabian Johnson (knee) trained but did not play Wednesday.
Forward Thierry Henry (knee) and striker Thierry Henry (knee) are both expected to be available for the Ghana game. Henry was injured in the World Cup final and has been carrying pain around the injury site since the USMNT played for gold at the Olympics as well.
Forward Clint Dempsey (knee) is also expected to be available for the Ghana game.
Defender Brian Ching (knee