With two of the USA's premier goal scorers out of the match against Scotland, the match represents a chance for others to step up.JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will not take part in the USA's friendly against Scotland on Saturday in Jacksonville.
Dempsey has a groin injury that has been a nagging issue and Altidore was not released by his club in time for the match. Both could be back in the lineup by the time Jurgen Klinsmann's side faces Brazil next week.
For now, the USA must find goals from other places.
Enter a trio of strikers - Chris Wondolowski, Herculez Gomez and Terrence Boyd - who will all be hoping to make their mark prior to the start of World Cup qualifying.
"I think regardless of whether (Altidore and Dempsey) are here or not, it would still be a trial process for us to get a look and we’ve got to make the most of it," Gomez said after training on Friday.
Gomez has been making the most of his chances regularly. From Puebla to Santos Laguna, with two stops in between - which Gomez is quick to point out were all from positive sales, a good thing for players - the former Kansas City Wizards winger has been a goal-getting machine at the club level.
Despite that success, chances have been limited for 30-year-old on the international stage, and he says the chance to make his mark is exciting.
"It’s always exciting," he said. "It’s always special to represent your country. It’s something that can’t be taken for granted. After a long season, two tournaments and a long season, mentally and physically you’re just kind of spent. To hear the news you’re going represent your country kind of refreshes you. You find that energy where you didn’t even know you had it.
"It’s good to have that feeling. It’s good to know that work is being rewarded."
Like Gomez, Wondolowski is being rewarded for his consistency at the club level.
The San Jose Earthquakes' star striker has already netted 11 league goals this season, and has proven to be one of the most lethal strikers in Major League Soccer over the last three seasons. Like Gomez, his chances in the USA kit have been limited, and the 29-year-old knows that he needs to take his chances when they come.
"Anytime you get an opportunity you have to make the most of it," he said. "I’ve always believed that, and so with a couple of forwards out you have to be ready.
"You don’t know if it’s going to come the first minute or the 90th, but you have to be prepared the whole time."
The wild card in the group is the 21-year-old Boyd.
The Borrussia Dortmund product is both a rare and raw talent. During the training session on Friday, which was open to the public, it was easy to spot the massive amounts of potential Boyd has. His array of strikes - one a spinning volley into the lower corner - show that he has a nose for goal, but he lacks the trust and credibility that comes with proving yourself in matches time and again.
All three could conceivably have big parts to play in as the USA searches for qualification to the 2014 World Cup, but Klinsmann's reliance on a single target forward makes that seem unlikely. With Altidore the clear front runner for that spot, and Dempsey almost certain to continue playing as the second striker when he's fit again, chances could be limited.
Saturday's match against Scotland may very well be the deciding factor of one of these hopefuls.