U.S. defense is in crisis mode 

March, 18, 2013

What looked like a routine delay to make some minor tweaks to the U.S. roster following the weekend's slate of club games was revealed as a full-fledged crisis when the Yanks' squad was announced slightly after 1 p.m. ET on Monday.

No fewer than six players on coach Jurgen Klinsmann's wish list for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, or another four days later in Mexico City, were deemed unavailable for the games, several of them at the last minute.

The list includes Edgar Castillo, Timothy Chandler, Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Michael Parkhurst, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres and Daniel Williams. When you throw in Carlos Bocanegra's demotion and Landon Donovan's hiatus, the team Klinsmann's sends onto the field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver this week will be worryingly short on experience -- mainly on the back line.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.