Arena changes 7 US starters vs Mexico, wary of altitude

MEXICO CITY (AP) U.S. coach Bruce Arena changed seven of 11 starters for Sunday's World Cup qualifier at Mexico, keeping only defenders Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin, and midfielders Christian Pulisic and Michael Bradley.

Brad Guzan took over in goal from Tim Howard, and DaMarcus Beasley, Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez joined the back line in a 5-4-1 formation. Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola were in midfield and Bobby Wood at forward.

Others on the bench who started Thursday's 2-0 home win over Trinidad and Tobago included defender John Brooks, midfielders Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson and Darlington Nagbe, and forward Jozy Altidore. Left back Jorge Villafana did not dress along with No. 4 goalkeeper Ethan Horvath and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who did not train with the main group Saturday.

With Estadio Azteca at 7,820 feet above sea level and just two off days between games, Arena paid close attention to recovery time.

At 35, Beasley became the first American to appear in five qualifying cycles.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.