By Jay Sekulow
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A scoreless tie with Mexico moved the U.S. (1-1-1) into third place in World Cup qualifying for the North and Central American and Caribbean region after three of 10 matches, one point behind Panama (1-0-2). The Americans and Costa Rica have four points, but the Ticos are ahead on goal difference.
The 33-year-old Bocanegra, captain since 2007, has lost his starting job with Racing Santander in Spain's second division. He was in the U.S. squad for the 2-1 loss at Honduras last month in the final round of qualifying but didn't play.
The United States heads into World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico with an inexperienced defense after dropping captain Carlos Bocanegra and learning eight players are injured or ill.
Defender Timmy Chandler is among 24 players selected for the United States' World Cup qualifier at Honduras on Wednesday and is set to make his competitive debut for the Americans.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann changed all 11 starters from November's 2-2 tie at Russia and is likely to change the entire lineup against for the Feb. 6 qualifier against Honduras at San Pedro Sula.
Matt Besler scored in the 54th minute to lift Sporting Kansas City to a 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday night, earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
"We fed off their energy," defender Matt Besler said of the fans. "It was a very loud, pro-American crowd. I thought we gave them a good show."