Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By JOHN BOSCHINI
CARY, North Carolina- Nine months after the United State's exited the 2010 World Cup, Bob Bradley was finally set to coach a full-strength national team. Injuries changed those plans after news that breakout midfielder Stuart Holden's knee injury would keep him out for six months and defender Steve Cherundolo suffered a groin injury.
"We all feel bad for Stuart," Bradley said. "He got injured last year when we played Holland and was able to work his way back and be in the World Cup but he still wasn't 100 percent. He's had an excellent season at Bolton and he's a player we still see as an important part of the team."
Holden needed 26 stiches to repair a gash in his knee inflicted by a nasty challenge from Manchester United's Johnny Evans. Holden said on Twitter that Evans called to apologize and the 25-year-old will undergo surgery on his injured knee in London today.
"We were looking forward to him being back 100 percent and confident," Bradley said. "This is a setback but he's shown in the past the mentality to fight through these things and he knows we're all behind him."
Bradley also said the team would miss Cherundolo, who's enjoying a stellar season as captain of Hannover 96, but that it would give some younger defenders the chance to prove themselves.
Joining Cherundolo and Holden on the injured list is Norwich City defender Zak Whitbread. Bradley called up 22-year-old Leeds United defender Eric Lichaj to replace him but U.S. Soccer confirmed that no one will be called up to replace Holden and Cherundolo, bringing the total roster to 22.
Players traveling with the team to New Jersey for Saturday's game with Argentina will be announced Thursday.
What do you think about Holden's injury? Disappointed Bradley won't call anyone else up?