HOUSTON -- With injuries to Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson, and Danny Williams' lack of playing time, the United States has defensive worries heading into next week's World Cup qualifier at Honduras, the opener in the final round to get to next year's tournament in Brazil.
The Americans play an exhibition against Canada on Tuesday night, their only tuneup this year before the Feb. 6 qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Regulars such as Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley remained with their European clubs for games this weekend and will meet up with the national team on Sunday in Miami.
Cherundolo and Johnson sat out games with their German clubs last weekend, and defender Steven Beitashour left the team's three-week training camp in California following surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he'll consider "all the alternatives" at outside backs.
"If there are some players with problems, players with injuries, players who can't make it, or whatever," Klinsmann said Monday, "we have all the alternatives. We have a little pool where the next in line is ready to go."
One possible replacement is Timmy Chandler, recommitted to playing for the
Born in Germany, Chandler, who plays for Nuremburg, would become tied to the American national team if he plays in a qualifier.
The outside backs in the January camp included Tony Beltran, A.J. DeLaGarza, Connor Lade, Alfredo Morales and Justin Morrow.
"We monitor closely what the players are doing in Europe, what rhythm of games they have, what goes on with injuries," Klinsmann said. "At the same time, every training session that we do here, every scrimmage that we play here has an impact on their position in the big picture."
Landon Donovan is not part of the U.S. team's immediate plans. The 30-year-old midfielder, the American career leader in goals and assists, said before the MLS Cup that he would take an indefinite break from soccer.