The U.S. men's national team is suddenly much thinner at center back for its pair of World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.
John Brooks has returned to Hertha Berlin with a knee contusion and Matt Besler suffered a concussion in training on Thursday, U.S. Soccer announced Friday night prior to the first of the two games. Besler will go through the U.S. Soccer concussion protocol and be evaluated in the coming days before determining whether he is available for Tuesday's qualifier in Columbus, Ohio.
Jurgen Klinsmann's roster had depth at the position, but that has since been sliced. Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Steve Birnbaum, Michael Orozco and Ventura Alvarado are all capable of filling in, though the latter two have hardly played for their Liga MX clubs of late and Birnbaum has little more than January camp experience on the national team level.
Brooks's injury also means he won't be able to join the U.S. Under-23 national team should Klinsmann and U-23 manager Andi Herzog wish to make that move ahead of Tuesday's Olympic qualifying playoff second leg. The U.S. drew Colombia 1-1 in the first leg on Friday.