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Injuries give Jermaine Jones a shot with U.S. soccer team

January 20, 2012 |  7:43 pm

Jones3The U.S. will be without forward Juan Agudelo and midfielder Kyle Beckerman for Saturday's friendly with Venezuela, which could create an opportunity for newly arrived midfielder Jermaine Jones.

Jones, a German-American, joined the U.S. team only after being suspended by his Bundesliga club for eight weeks after intentionally stomping on an opponent's injured foot last month. And given his late start -- he arrived in training camp last weekend -- his playing time with the national team figured to be limited.

But Agudelo sprained his right ankle in a recent scrimmage against the U.S. U-23 team, and Beckerman remains sidelined with a groin issue, leaving Coach Jurgen Klinsmann with just 16 healthy field players for two matches over the next five days. And that means Jones could find himself starting either Saturday or against Panama in Panama City on Wednesday.

"He got off the airplane, and the next morning I asked him: 'Are you ready to go right away? Or you want to just have an easy jog, shake off the flight, the nine-hour time difference and all that stuff?' " Klinsmann said. "He said, 'No, no, no. I slept enough. I'm ready.'

"So this helps us. It's great that he's here."


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-- Kevin Baxter, reporting from Phoenix

Photo: Jermaine Jones smiles while taking part in a Schalke 04 team practice session in Qatar on Jan. 6. Credit: Alex Grimm / Getty Images