Injuries have created serious questions at right back and striker for the United States heading into Friday's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, who should have all of their first choice players available. While the U.S. are coming off of a run of nine points from three games in June's Hex matches and an emphatic Gold Cup win, they're far from heavy favorites in a match that could virtually clinch a World Cup berth for themselves or the Ticos.
Jozy Altidore has been cleared to practice after sustaining a hamstring injury, but he looks unlikely to be fit to start on Friday. Herculez Gomez is out of the squad with an injury, meaning that Eddie Johnson or new USMNT striker Aron Johansson will have to start up top for the U.S., unless Jurgen Klinsmann opts to play Clint Dempsey out of position. The right back situation is also less than ideal, with Steve Cherundolo and Brad Evans missing out through injury, while Klinsmann opted not to select Timothy Chandler. It could mean a return to the starting right back role for Geoff Cameron, who has been playing the position for Stoke City in England.
Costa Rica have switched between a back three and back four in qualifying, usually playing the back three when on the road and content with a draw. Expect a back four and an attacking lineup from the Ticos, who might want to find a way to get all of Alvaro Saborio, Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges and Christian Bolaños in the same lineup, depending on how much they fear the U.S. attack.
Match date/time: Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica
TV: beIn Sport (U.S.)
Online: beIN Sport Play (U.S.)