"Losing Michael is not easy because he developed into a real leader," Klinsmann said. "We'll find ways to balance it out. We'll find ways to make sure the guys stepping on the field and also the guys sitting on the bench are giving everything they have."
Before the Costa Rica loss, the U.S. had won 12 consecutive matches, by far the longest streak in American history, and the longest active streak in the world until it was snapped.
The team will try to start a new streak in Columbus Crew Stadium, probably the closest thing the Americans have to a home stadium.
Crew Stadium, with a capacity of just over 20,000, is also the smallest stadium that the Americans regularly play in, but they keep coming back there for good reason.
"The atmosphere's been great, we have a pro-American crowd here," U.S. defender DaMarcus Beasley said Monday. "We don't always have that at home."
The U.S. keeps coming back to Columbus - where the team has never lost, 6-0-3 all time - because it is one of the few stadiums in the country where American fans are guaranteed to be dominant.
The U.S. sold out 71,000-seat M&T Bank Stadium for a match against El Salvador in Baltimore in July, but the crowd was probably 75 percent Salvadoran.
The same phenomenon happens all over the country, from New York, to Miami, to Los Angeles, the U.S. ends up playing home games in front of road crowds.
"It was discouraging 10 years ago, it's discouraging today," goalkeeper Tim Howard said of the hostile crowds. "But we've found places that work for us."
Columbus is the place. It worked for the U.S. in 2005, when a 2-0 victory over Mexico clinched the U.S. a spot in the World Cup.
The team is hoping for a little bit of history repeated tonight.
"Mexico is there with their backs against the wall," Klinnsman said. "But we badly want the points."
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.