No Altidore. No Bradley. No Besler. No Cameron. No problemo.
The United States were without their best forward, most consistent midfielder, one of the their center back and their most versatile player on Tuesday night against Mexico. Their replacements didn’t miss a beat and players who struggled on Friday in Costa Rica stepped up in the U.S.’s 2-0 victory over a desperate Mexican side that are in danger of missing the World Cup.
Eddie Johnson replaced Jozy Altidore at forward. Altidore came off the bench and picked up a late yellow card against Costa Rica and was suspended for Tuesday. Johnson scored the first goal early in the second half off a corner kick.
Kyle Beckerman filled in for Michael Bradley, who was out with an ankle injury. Beckerman and Jermaine Jones looked strong at holding midfield. Jones struggled at Costa Rica and played much better against Mexico.
Clarence Goodson wasn’t on the initial roster for the September World Cup qualifiers and was called in after Besler was suspended for the Mexico match. Goodson and Omar Gonzales looked comfortable together and limited Mexico’s scoring chances. DaMarcus Beasley and goalkeeper Tim Howard were the two other players that had bounce back games against Mexico. The veterans struggled in the 3-1 loss to Costa Rica.
The U.S. are officially going to Brazil. It will be interesting to see how the roster looks for the last two qualifiers in October. Jurgen Klinsmann might call in his top players but give opportunities to players battling for a spot on the 23-man roster.