Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – With a World Cup berth already secured, US national soccer team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sent four players, including Landon Donovan, back to their mother clubs ahead of Tuesday’s match against Panama.
Klinsmann said Donovan, who plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy, is still struggling with an ankle injury that he sustained two weeks ago.
Donovan played a lackluster first half in the Americans’ 2-0 win over Jamaica Friday before he was pulled out.
“Landon is still struggling with the ankle injury from a couple weeks ago, so he will go back to Los Angeles and try to get back to 100 percent,” Klinsmann said.
Aside from Donovan, Klinsmann also released Jermaine Jones, who plays for Schalke of the German Bundesliga, due to a knee injury.
Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard have also departed as part of a planned rotation of players.
“Jermaine’s case is more of a concern,” Klinsmann said. It’s clear that the issue with his knee is something that should be taken care of right away so he can be 100 percent for Schalke and the national team as soon as possible.”
Howard’s departure means Brad Guzan of English Premier League club Aston Villa will start in goal in the final match of regional qualifying.
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson has been called up to take Howard’s place on the roster as backup. The San Jose Earthquakes’ Clarence Goodson will get the start on the backline in place of Besler.