Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)
Cameron was left off the USMNT roster due to injury, and his presence was thoroughly missed this week as the USMNT conceded six goals in their two losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, looking particularly out of sorts on the backline against Costa Rica. There’s no telling if he will return this weekend for Stoke, but his knee injury doesn’t seem to be serious, so he should return to the pitch soon.
He definitely didn’t expect to play, but Guzan was thrown into the USMNT fire against Mexico in the 40th minute when Tim Howard was removed due to an adductor injury. Though Rafa Marquez’s late winner was a sublime header, Guzan did go the wrong way initially, leaving some to wonder if better reflexes could have helped the keeper potentially make the save. Of course, against Costa Rica, it all went downhill, but Guzan was left out to dry by his defense all day, and if it weren’t for a couple of nice saves, the 4-0 scoreline could have even been worse.
Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth)
Hyndman was not on the USMNT roster as he spent his break trying to finally break into the Bournemouth side.
Matt Miazga (Chelsea, on loan to Vitesse)
Miazga also did not make the USMNT roster, but given the immense defensive struggles, he could be in line for some caps if the manager is looking for a serious shakeup.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur)
Carter-Vickers was named to the USMNT 26-man roster but did not make the 23-player team that matched up with Mexico. He did make the substitutes bench for the Costa Rica fixture, but watched the whole game from the sideline and remains without a USMNT senior cap.
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland)
After riding the pine in the first game, Gooch came on with 20 minutes to play against Costa Rica, cap-tying him to the USMNT. When he entered, the team was only down two, but the fixture quickly got out of hand. Gooch made little impact on the fixture, and frankly there wasn’t much he could have done, but minutes in the side are valuable for the 20-year-old, who is now in it for the long haul.
Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal)
Zelalem was not on the USMNT roster, but as we discussed last week, there is a decent chance he will be making an appearance for Arsenal in the near future.
Tim Ream (Fulham)
Ream was not a member of Jurgen Klinsmann's 26-man squad.
Luca de la Torre (Fulham)
Unsurprisingly, de la Torre was not selected for the USMNT side and will most likely return to action Friday for Fulham’s Premier League 2 team.
Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest)
Lichaj has been in solid form lately, but was not called into the USMNT squad.
Andrija Novakovich (Reading)
Novakovich was one of the few Americans to feature this week despite missing the USMNT roster, playing 90 minutes for Reading’s U-23 side, which lost 2-0 to Yeovil Town in the EFL Cup. Despite the loss, the Royals’ official site credited Novakovich with an impressive performance, as he consistently looked dangerous in the attack.
Williams was not selected into the USMNT for this round of fixtures, but the midfield issues will make some wonder if he is on the cusp of breaking in.
Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
Spector also did not make the cut for Klinsmann's roster.
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Yedlin, to many people’s surprise, did not start the USMNT’s match against Mexico, as Klinsmann opted for Timothy Chandler in his place. The two made a direct swap in the 70th minute, which left Yedlin on the pitch for a disappointing finish, although he didn’t do anything of note during his 20 minutes on the field. Yedlin watched the Costa Rica match from the bench.
Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield)
Ariyibi logged 180 minutes for Chesterfield this week in a 2-0 win over Crewe –– in the Checkatrade Trophy ––and a 4-1 loss to Sheffield United. The winger was a bystander on all three of his side's goals, but his long crossfield ball in the first fixture allowed a teammate to make a darting run into the box that resulted in a penalty and the Spireites’ second goal.
Duane Holmes (Scunthorpe United)
Holmes did not take part in the EFL Trophy but played 76 minutes for Scunthorpe in a 1-0 weekend win over Coventry. Holmes was not part of the tally, but did play in a midfield that bent but did not break despite the fixture being almost completely one-way traffic towards the Scunthorpe goal. The win was a big one, too, for Scunthorpe, as they now sit five points clear at the top of League 1.
Terrence Boyd (RB Leipzig)
Having not played for the Leipzig senior side in months, Boyd was an obvious omission from the USMNT side. However, more news about Boyd’s future came out this week as Leipzig announced they would entertain bids for the forward in the January transfer window.
John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
Brooks played every minute for the USMNT in the pair of qualifiers, but his role in the side may be re-evaluated after a miserable showing. He wasn’t terrible against Mexico, making a few nice plays here and there and helping set up the USMNT goal with a long pass to Jozy Altidore, but against Los Ticos, Brooks was torturous. The defender was partially or fully responsible for three of the four Costa Rican tallies and looked out of sorts for the entire fixture. Both he and the USMNT will need to regroup in March or watch their dreams of the 2018 World Cup slip away.
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Although he played the vast majority of the two games, Chandler struggled massively in both. Against Mexico, he repeatedly found himself out of position early with the USMNT deployed in a 3-5-2 formation, although he improved a bit when Klinsmann shifted to a four-man back line before coming off in the 74th minute. However, against Costa Rica, Chandler was one of a number of players who failed to slow down Los Ticos, putting forth a dismal display that included an embarrassing slip, a misplay on Costa Rica’s second goal, and a lack of quality going forward. He also picked up a yellow card that will rule him out of the next qualifier in March.
Julian Green (Bayern Munich)
Green watched both of the USMNT’s defeats from the bench and did not make an appearance. He’s popped up on the radar with a few decent showings for both the U.S. and Bayern Munich in recent weeks, but he remains far away from either’s first team.
Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen)
Johannsson also did not get off the bench in either qualifier. He’ll return to Germany to continue his quest to regain a starting spot in Werder’s side.
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Playing in the midfield in both games, Johnson was a key part of the USMNT’s attack, but he couldn’t do much to get the Americans going forward. After a few decent moments in the defeat to Mexico at both ends of the pitch, Johnson wasted a number of dead-ball opportunities with poor deliveries against Costa Rica. He’ll remain a vital figure moving forward for the Americans, but he certainly needs to improve.
Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt)
Morales wasn’t picked to join the USMNT as he recovers from an injury that’s kept him on the fringes over the past month or so at Ingolstadt.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
One of the few bright spots for the USMNT, Pulisic proved to be well within his capabilities during the
Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz, Swiss Super League, on loan from SC Freiburg)
Despite being named in the squad, Stanko didn’t see any time on the pitch for the USMNT over the international break.
Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Wood’s partnership with Jozy Altidore was another positive from the games as the Hamburg striker scored the only USMNT goal with a nice finish against Mexico and battled throughout both games while going the distance in each. Against Mexico, he was a menace, scoring with his left foot after a nutmeg and also seeing a spinning shot saved. He was starved of service in San Jose, though, and struggled to make much of an impact on the game, although he didn’t do anything to lose his starting spot.
Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim, on loan to Bochum)
Canouse did not receive a USMNT call up, and the 2. Bundesliga was off during the international break.
Jerome Kiesewetter (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Likewise, Kieswetter wasn’t included in the USMNT squad, and Fortuna Dusseldorf was inactive over the international break.
Fafa Picault (St. Pauli)
Picault wasn’t a part of the USMNT side and didn’t appear in a game over the past week.
Andrew Wooten (Sandhausen)
Despite his success for Sandhausen of late, Wooten wasn’t included in the USMNT setup.
Jordan Siebatcheu (Reims, Ligue 2)
Siebatcheu wasn’t in the USMNT squad for the qualifiers.
Ethan Horvath (Molde, Tippeligaen)
Horvath watched the USMNT’s fixtures from the bench. With Howard’s long-term injury, the youngster will move up the goalkeeper depth chart at least for the time being, although he remains one of the more likely eventual replacements for Howard and Guzan as the starter between the sticks.
Bjorn-Maars Johnsen (Hearts, Scottish Premiership)
Johnsen wasn’t included in the USMNT squad.
Perry Kitchen (Hearts, Scottish Premiership)
Kitchen was one of the more surprising exclusions from the USMNT squad, although he remains a key figure for Hearts as the club’s on-field captain and should receive some further international looks if he can continue his solid form from the early part of the season.
Desevio Payne (FC Groningen, Eredivisie)
Payne wasn’t included in the USMNT side, but he did play for Groningen’s youth team during the international break in a 3-1 win over Almere City’s youth side. He also appeared on the team sheet for the senior team’s friendly against Cambuur, though it’s unclear whether or not he played in the game.
Rubio Rubin (Utrecht, Eredivisie)
Although he wasn’t in the USMNT team, Rubin played 60 minutes over the international break in a friendly for Utrecht against RKC Waalwijk, which Utrecht won 4-0. He wasn’t involved in either of the two goals scored before he left the game, but Rubin is at least on the fringes of the first team at the moment, so there’s hope that he could nail down a spot in the side sooner rather than later.