The U.S. men's national team had already been forced into one roster change for its three upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, and now it's had to make another change.
Center back John Brooks will stay in Germany during the international break, U.S. Soccer confirmed on Monday, following a report from Bild, which said a back injury would be preventing him from joining the U.S. for games against Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica. His club, Wolfsburg, had also omitted Brooks from its list of players released for international duty. With Tim Ream already withdrawing from camp for family reasons and being replaced by Walker Zimmerman over the weekend, Brooks's injury could have forced manager Gregg Berhalter into another defensive change, but he elected to go forward with 26 players instead of keeping his roster size at 27 players.
Zimmerman joins Miles Robinson, Chris Richards and Mark McKenzie among the center backs on the U.S. squad. That there will not be a replacement for Brooks means that there is no call-up for on-loan Alavés center back Matt Miazga or NYCFC's James Sands, the latter of whom participated in last month's camp. Robinson was one of two U.S. field players to play all 270 minutes in the last window (Tyler Adams was the other), and figures to take on a role of greater significance in this window with Brooks unavailable for selection.
At his best, Brooks is an invaluable part of the U.S. squad, but he was far from it in last month's first set of qualifiers. After being held out of the opener in El Salvador, Brooks was the last man at fault for the two goals the U.S. conceded, one vs. Canada and one vs. Honduras. He was substituted for at halftime of the Honduras match, with the U.S. losing 1–0 at the time before it rallied for a 4–1 victory.
Brooks is the third key player to be held out of this camp with an injury, with Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna also set to remain with their respective clubs after being hurt in the last World Cup qualifying window.
The U.S. will host Jamaica on Thursday, Oct. 7 at Austin FC's Q2 Stadium before departing for an away match in Panama slated for Oct. 10. The window concludes in Columbus, Ohio, with a home game vs Costa Rica at the Crew's new stadium.
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