United States midfielder Michael Bradley has been ruled out for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Mexico, and U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in four players Saturday to supplement the squad.
With Bradley out and three other players unavailable because of yellow card suspensions, Klinsmann called up defender Clarence Goodson and midfielders Joe Corona, Jose Torres and Brad Davis to join the U.S. squad in Columbus, Ohio, in advance of the showdown.
The U.S. also announced that defender John Brooks was released back to his Bundesliga club, Hertha Berlin. Brooks has yet to appear in an official game for the U.S. and is still eligible to play for Germany instead, if he so chooses.
An MRI revealed Bradley has a Grade 2 sprained left ankle. Originally in the starting lineup Friday in Costa Rica, Bradley limped off the field during warm-ups and was on crutches at the bench during the game.
"I don't think it changes a lot," Klinsmann said. "We need to have our four points at least to qualify. We will get those four points."
Without Bradley anchoring the midfield, the U.S. scuffled to a 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica.
"Michael might be our most important player," American midfielder Landon Donovan said.
"We're going to have to have guys step up, there's no question," Klinsmann said. "I think we've talked about it over the last three years: We build toward this every game, so a guy can step in and not miss a beat and get the cohesion right."
Klinsmann was particularly perturbed by Altidore's card. Time had just about run out when Altidore bumped Michael Umana in front of Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez.
"It was absolutely not necessary," Klinsmann said. "But it is what it is."
Costa Rica moved into first place in the final round of qualifying in CONCACAF with 14 points, one ahead of the U.S. with three games remaining. Honduras is third with 10 points after a shocking 2-1 win at Mexico, which is fourth with eight points. Panama is another point back after behind held to a 0-0 tie at home by last-place Jamaica.
Mexico fired coach Jose Manuel De la Torre hours after the loss, replacing him with Luis Fernando Tena.
The top three nations qualify for next year's 32-team field in Brazil, and the fourth-place finisher goes to a playoff against New Zealand for another berth.
Despite dropping to 0-8-2 in Costa Rica, the Americans could clinch their seventh straight World Cup berth if they beat Mexico and Honduras wins or ties at home against Panama.
"Qualifying is all about ups and downs. It's never going to be easy. It never is. Every time is hard," Donovan said. "So we've got to get ourselves recovered physically, recovered mentally, and we have to beat Mexico now on Tuesday."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.