TAMPA, Fla. -- Injuries are continuing to add problems for the United States defense.
Already dealing with knocks to left backs Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo, midfielder Jose Torres - the stand-in left back for Friday's match - was forced out of the U.S. 3-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda.
While the injury was initially described as a left ankle contusion, Klinsmann's prognosis hinted that Torres could be out for some time.
"For us obviously, the big bummer is the injury of Jose Torres who is going to get x-rayed," said Klinsmann after the game. “It's not looking very good for him right now.”
Oguchi Onyewu came on for Torres in the 57th minute and the central defender's lack of pace was immediately exploited by Antigua and Barbuda. Peter Byers got a feed and skinned Onyewu to score past U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. Howard was clearly frustrated after the play, yelling at his defenders.
Although Onyewu was primarily responsible for the goal, both Howard and Klinsmann were quick to defend the 30-year-old. Howard believes that with the heavy rain conditions in Tampa, mistakes like that can happen as it can be hard to find proper footing on a wet field.
"On a day like today, you are going to get that," said Howard. "It was a sloppy goal altogether. As with any goal [conceded], there were a couple of moments where we could have put the fire out. It was just sloppy in a lot of areas."
Klinsmann said that Onyewu's recent poor form hasn't affected his opinion of the player. He explained that Onyewu is still trying to find his fitness.
"He wasn't 100 percent yet," Klinsmann said. "We’re not expecting everyone to play perfect games. There was a mistake that happened on the goal with Antigua. It happens."
If Johnson isn't healthy before the Guatemala game, Klinsmann said that he will use Carlos Bocanegra in the left back role. However, the former Germany boss hinted that Johnson should be ready to go for next week's game.
"We are very hopeful for Fabian. The physios are working nonstop with him and it’s not looking bad, so hopefully we can have him there in that role," Klinsmann said.
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