ANDY SCHREUR - Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Carlos Bocanegra is in jeopardy of missing his fifth straight Racing Santander match this weekend.
Bocanegra's last appearance for Racing came in a February 2 win over Sporting Gíjon, when he picked up a yellow card in the 69th minute.
After that match, the US Captain traveled to Honduras with the US National Team, a 2-1 loss in which he did not play in what turned out to be a controversial benching by Jurgen Klinsmann.
He returned to Spain late that week and did not make the 18 as Racing beat Huesca 1-0. The following week Racing reported that he missed training due to a bout with the flu and was questionable for the match against Recreativo Huelva. He was on the bench for the Huelva match, did not make the 18 versus Mirandés and was an unused sub again last week against Numancia. Now, it appears, he has lost his starting spot permanently.
The lack of playing time will surely be noticed by Klinsmann, who has stated publicly that he wants players to be active first team participants at the club level in order to see time with the USMNT.
The next US Qualifier's are only a few weeks away when they play Costa Rica in Denver on March 22 and against Mexico at the Azteca on March 26.
Bocanegra's lack of playing time at Santander will only make Klinsmann's defensive choices more difficult. The first-time central defensive pairing of Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron was not effective against Honduras and neither were Timmy Chandler on the right and Fabian Johnson on the left.
Club Tijuana and US left back Edgar Castillo underwent surgery this week to repair broken bones in his face and his doubtful for the matches later this month. Klinsmann also seems to have given up at Danny Williams at right back and has been playing him in his preferred central midfield.
Bocanegra has not played a competitive match in over a month and may be a question mark for Klinsmann at left back in Castillo's absence. Additionally, Hannover Captain and USMNT stalwart Steve Cherundolo is recovering from knee surgery and will not likely be back in time for the US qualifier's against Costa Rica and Mexico either.
Aston Villa's Eric Lichaj may earn a call up and is an option at left back, although he is not a regular starter for Villa.
Injuries and lack of playing time have severely limited Klinsmann's options in defense. Oguchi Onyewu, Eric Lichaj and Bocanegra do not see minutes with regularity in Europe and the former German striker faces a difficult choice in two very important matches for the US in the hexagonal later this month.