The United States was dealt another injury blow on Tuesday evening when it was revealed that Edgar Castillo will miss the team's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala. Castillo reaggravated a foot injury in training and is now set to miss two weeks.
The news about Castillo's injury comes on the heels of Kicker's report that Fabian Johnson will miss the Antigua and Barbuda match with the flu. That seemed to give Castillo an opportunity to show his growth, but now that is gone with his injury.
It is a real shame that Castillo won't get his chance to shine. He turned in some awful performances for the U.S. before, but he has been tremendous for Xolos in Liga MX over the last year. His defending still isn't great, but he's much more composed going forward and is more disciplined. Adding to the quickness and skill he's always had, that makes for an intriguing player who would have had a golden opportunity to show it off at the international level against Antigua and Barbuda.
The U.S. has had trouble playing with width under Klinsmann and losing Castillo and Johnson won't help. Along with Landon Donovan and Brek Shea's injuries, Klinsmann is going to really be challenged to get his team out wide on Friday
Without Johnson and Castillo, Jurgen Klinsmann can turn to Carlos Bocanegra or Michael Parkhurst. Bocanegra played left back in a World Cup just two years ago so a shift wide won't be a problem for him, even if Klinsmann has been hesitant to move him out of the center before. Parkhurst is capable of playing anywhere along the back line and has played some left back before so Klinsmann has two capable options there.
The Castillo injury, along with Johnson's rumored absence could spur Klinsmann to call up a replacement or two. Some yearn for Eric Lichaj, but he was inconsistent before losing his starting spot at Aston Villa. Justin Morrow could be an option, as could Jonathan Spector. It is unlikely that any would play ahead of Bocanegra or Parkhurst, but there would be some comfort knowing that there was another left back available, just in case.
Regardless, Klinsmann said in June before the U.S. took on Antigua and Barbuda that "anybody can play left back". When you are the U.S. playing against the Benna Boys, ranked 106th in the world, that is true.
The injuries to Johnson and Castillo should not keep the Yanks from winning on Friday. After all, they played Jose Francisco Torres at left back in June. Still, the U.S. wishes it had a time machine and could fast forward to Friday before anyone else can get hurt.