Earthquakes all-star defender Justin Morrow was named to the U.S. national team training camp roster Monday ahead of two World Cup qualifying matches -- the first Friday night against Costa Rica in Commerce, Colo.

Morrow, 25, left for the camp Sunday, a day after scoring the equalizer to help San Jose earn a 1-1 tie at Columbus. He has become one of the country's most promising young left fullbacks in his fourth year as a pro.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a conference call with reporters Real Salt Lake's Tony Beltran and Morrow got camp invitations because of injuries to key American defenders.

Klinsmann called on nine Major League Soccer players in preparation for CONCACAF qualifiers that includes a showdown against Mexico a week from Tuesday in Mexico City. The American coach had limited options because of injuries to Edgar Castillo (facial fractures), Timmy Chandler (hamstring), Steve Cherundolo (knee), Tim Howard (back), Fabian Johnson (hip), Jonathan Spector (ankle), Jose Torres (hamstring) and Danny Williams (illness).

Also, Klinsmann left off longtime captain Carlos Bocanegra, one of the country's top fullbacks. Bocanegra has 110 international appearances but hasn't played since Feb. 3 with a second division Spanish club.

Such moves left room for Morrow.


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"He comes in here with absolutely nothing to lose," Klinsmann said. "He is giving his best, maturing and learning. We saw a lot of improvement happening. We believe he is ready for another level and sticking his nose into international football."

Klinsmann said Morrow, 25, is a product of MLS' growth.

"It's great to see when you look at a lot of players coming through the MLS system now that they are getting better and better and they are ready for another level."

Morrow, a second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, has one appearance with the United States -- a scoreless draw Jan. 29 against Canada in which he played the whole game.

"We like the dynamic of his game," Klinsmann added. "Technically he is very gifted. He can cut inside, he can go down the line. He's able to cover a lot of ground on the left flank."

But the coach hopes Morrow also can increase his understanding of the defensive role while working better with the backline.

Morrow probably won't be available for the Quakes' game Saturday against the Seattle Sounders at Buck Shaw Stadium. His status for the March 30 match at Houston will be determined next week.

Ramiro Corrales probably would move to left back in Morrow's absence. That would leave Sam Garza, Cordell Cato or newcomer Walter Martinez to fill the left wing position.

Klinsmann emphasized the importance of winning its home match against Costa Rica after opening the final round of qualifying with a defeat in Honduras. The Americans are led by forwards Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar) and Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur).

Klinsmann offered tepid support for the return of U.S. star Landon Donovan, who has taken a break through March and has given no indication about his desire to return to the national team.

"If he will become part of our plans depends on how I look at the whole picture" in the future, Klinsmann said.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.