Injuries to Jozy Altidore, Brad Evans trouble U.S. soccer team

A calf strain suffered in Saturday's Major League Soccer win over Columbus will keep Seattle's Brad Evans off the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifiers in Costa Rica on Friday and against Mexico on Sept. 10 in Ohio, adding to the mounting injury concerns plaguing Juergen Klinsmann's team.

Forward Jozy Altidore is also questionable for the Costa Rica match after sitting out Saturday's game with Sunderland of the English Premier League with hamstring problems. Altidore has scored in his last five matches with the national team.

Should Altidore be unable to go, Klinsmann has a number of candidates to start at forward, including the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, who scored seven goals and had seven assists in seven matches with a U.S. "B" team in July.

But Evans' absence leaves the U.S. with a gaping hole at right back, where the Sounders' versatile midfielder started in the last three World Cup qualifiers. He was replaced on the U.S. roster by defender Michael Parkhurst, who left his German team FC Augsburg to join the U.S. squad Monday in Miami ahead of Tuesday's flight to Central America.

Parkhurst, 29, started five of six matches in July's Gold Cup, won by the U.S., but has made just two appearances in Bundesliga play since joining Augsburg midway through last season.

With a victory in Costa Rica, combined with a tie between Mexico and Honduras and a Jamaican win or draw at Panama, the U.S. would become the sixth nation to guarantee itself a berth in Brazil next summer. And if the U.S. wins its spot on the sixth of 10 match days in the final round of regional qualifying, it would be the earliest clinching in national team history.

The U.S., which has never won in Costa Rica, is riding a record 12-match winning streak and has averaged more than three goals a game over that span, climbing back into the top 20 in the FIFA world rankings for the first time in 2 1/2 years. It hasn't lost a World Cup qualifier since February.


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