>Thursday Lunch: USMNT Injury Situation, Where Do We Stand?

Posted: February 11, 2010 in Uncategorized
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>     What’s up everyone? This is Evan and this will be the first of many bi-weekly columns here at The SACK Lunch. I will be mostly covering Soccer with a USA Men’s National Team and Major League Soccer focus. I will also follow many of the Americans playing abroad, especially those playing in England.
     What I wanted to look at today, for my first ever post, is the injury situation on team USA. While the injuries have been well documented for key players such as Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu, and Clint Dempsey, there have been a few new injuries, though not as serious, that have caught my attention. A lot of these injuries will affect the roster for the 3/3 friendly vs. the Netherlands; the last warm-up game before Bob Bradley chooses the roster for the World Cup.
     In order to discuss the injuries that will affect the team, I first want to go through the 23 players that I think will get selected if they are healthy (not that Jermaine Jones will not be on this list because he has yet to feature for the team and hasn’t made any progress toward getting better yet). After each player and the club he plays for, there will be a number followed by another number in parentheses. The first number is the number of international appearances the player has at this time and the second is the number of international goals they have.

Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard (Everton) 48(0), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) 13(0), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton) 6(0)

Defenders (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes) 71(11), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan) 51(5), Jay DeMerit (Watford) 16(0), Johnathan Spector (West Ham) 23(0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96) 57(2), Johnathan Bornstein (Chivas USA) 24(2), Clarence Goodson (IK Start) 9(2), Edgar Castillo (Tigres) 1(0)

Midfielders (8): Landon Donovan (Everton/LA Galaxy) 120(42), Clint Dempsey (Fulham) 60(17), Michael Bradley (Borussia Monchengladbach) 38(7), Ricardo Clark (Frankfurt) 26(2), Maurice Edu (Rangers) 11(0), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers) 89(17), Benny Feilhaber (AGF) 30(2), Stuart Holden (Bolton) 12(2)

Forwards (4): Jozy Altidore (Hull/Villarreal) 21(8), Charlie Davies (Sochaux) 17(4), Connor Casey (Colorado Rapids) 16(2), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) 2(0)

     First notice that Jose Francisco Torres did not make my squad, that and the general lack of experience at forward, but those are both for other articles as we are focusing on injuries. Now the question we have right now is how many of these players are injury risks? The list of players out right now looks like this:
Oguchi Onyewu
Steve Cherundolo
Clint Dempsey
Ricardo Clark
Maurice Edu
DaMarcus Beasley
Charlie Davies
Stuart Holden

     That’s 8 players including 6 possible starters (There’s no way Edu starts). Now looking at each player I will separate them into 3 different categories. Serious (in danger to miss the world cup), moderate (should be back before the end of the season), and light (just enough to miss the Netherlands friendly, but should be good after that).

Serious
Charlie Davies- As we all know he was seriously injured in that car crash, breaking multiple bones and according to some reports tearing his PCL as well. Davies at first looked a lock to miss the World Cup, but due to his wolverine like healing powers, there may be hope for him yet. Prognosis: I’m optimistic, but maybe I shouldn’t be. Don’t be surprised if he isn’t available to play.

Clint Dempsey- Suffered moderate PCL damage in a game against Blackburn last month. Initially he was thought to be out of the Cup for sure, but he will not require surgery and should be good to go before the World Cup. The only reason he is in the Serious category was that Fulham didn’t offer a timetable to his return, although according to to this website, Dempsey could return in March. This should be taken with a grain of salt though because I believe this was the same website that reported that Stuart Holden would be signing with Braga in Portugal, which clearly didn’t happen. Prognosis: He should be available to play, but will he be able to get in form in time?

Moderate
Oguchi Onyewu- Tore his patellar tendon in the last World Cup Qualifying game vs Costa Rica and originally faced a 4-6 month comeback. However, he has said in recent interviews that he may return to training for the Netherlands game and possibly make a late cameo. Prognosis: Barring another injury, there is no way he misses the World Cup, but will he get any time for AC Milan?

DaMarcus Beasley- This is a disappointing one because after a terrible 2009, he had been coming into great form in the New Year, until he picked up a knock in his hamstring. He was originally supposed to be out for just a few weeks, but those few weeks have turned into nearly two months. Normally with a player I wouldn’t worry about these kinds of things, but Beasley has had so many injuries over the last few years that I’m not sure if he will be able to shake this off. Prognosis: Should return to the pitch soon, but will he be in good enough form for Bob Bradley to select him?

Maurice Edu- The man who made us all believe that he would be an important figure in 2009 by starting for Rangers during their title run was disappointed when he had a knee injury that kept him off the Confederations Cup squad. That knee injury is all gone now but he played in just two games before injuring his ankle and hasn’t played now in two weeks. I don’t think it is that serious but he hasn’t been in the 18 in the last couple of games and I haven’t heard anything about the injury itself so I am putting him here. Prognosis: He will be fine, but will he be able to get minutes in a stacked (for the SPL) Rangers midfield?

Light
Ricardo Clark- He picked up a hamstring injury in training and is said to be out 4 weeks. Prognosis: Good. He will miss the Netherlands friendly but should be back for Frankfurt to help continue with their surprise run in the Bundesliga.

Steve Cherundolo- He hurt his shoulder in training and will reportedly miss 4 weeks. Prognosis: Same as Rico, although instead of continuing a good run, he will look to help Hannover 96 in the relegation battle.

Stuart Holden- He hurt his hamstring during his Bolton Trial. Prognosis: Great, he has already resumed training. Look for him to be in the Bolton 18 in the next few games.

     As you can see, there is an injury situation on the national team with 8 of a possible 23 hurt now, and that can never be good in a World Cup year. While it is doubtful that the top 23 USA players will all be healthy for the World Cup, I am confident in this group returning to the field in a matter of time and being able to make a contribution to the team come June. That’s all for me today, look for my next article on Monday where I will review the weekend’s action as well as provide some thoughts on Landon’s stay at Everton.

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