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Report: U.S. U-20 midfielder Zelalem to miss nine months after rupturing ACL

Gedion Zelalem’s Under-20 World Cup is reportedly over, and it appears the injury sustained in the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s opener is much, much worse than originally feared.

According to Football.London, Zelalem¬†ruptured his¬†anterior cruciate ligament in the Americans’ 3-3 draw with Ecuador on Monday. Zelalem was removed from the match in the first half due to a non-contact injury and was replaced by Derrick Jones.

The midfielder will reportedly miss six-to-nine months.

Zelalem, who is under contract with Arsenal until the end of the 2018 season, spent the second half of last season with VVV Venlo before joining up with the U-20s for the World Cup.

With Zelalem’s injury, the U.S. has just four central midfielders on the roster in Jones, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre and Eryk Williamson.

The U.S. U-20s return to action Thursday to take on Senegal in the second match of their group stage run.


  1. Still young, could be a blessing in disguise. Might take it to build muscle on his small frame and since regular first team mins wasn’t likely this season it might motivate him to round out his game more. Hopefully it won’t ruin his career before it even started.

  2. Looks like another promising young american prospect derailed by injuries. He joins a long list. The Squad now really misses not having McKinney.

    • I know this will be a bit of a shock to you. While you probably think he is too good for MLS, I am going to take the other side and express doubt that he is good enough for MLS presently. If he couldn’t hack it an VVV, what would make you think that he is good enough to be a solid MLS player???

      • who’s to say he couldn’t hack it at VVV Venlo?? Are you there, or are you a scout with the team because that statement comes off as all knowing, so if you know something fill your brethren in! From what i understand VVV were a team set with their rotation before GZ got there, and were also near the top of the table, so really he was there for squad depth it seems, which by the way was an awful job on Arsenal’s part loaning him to a club that was atop the eerste division of Holland and were never threatened to be useated.

      • Yes MLS headliners like Giovinco, Altidore, Kaka, and Villa are much better than the players in the Dutch 2nd Division, but its doubtful the other 8 roster spots are any better. Also, when a team in first place takes a player on loan, he’s insurance as long as they maintain their top standing there is no reason to play a player who won’t be there next season. Arsenal saw Venlo as a place for GZ to work on some part of his game, knowing that game minutes might be small.

  3. Terrible scenario for GZ. At this rate, he likely won’t be fit until at least the Jan. transfer window and he may have a hard time finding playing time wherever he goes.

    Also, FIFA needs to change the rules about replacing players on the roster. At minimum, you should be allowed to replace a few roster spots after Group play. Alternatively, a committee of doctors could certify a player too injured and then teams could bring in a new player. Something needs to be done.

    • That sounds great but, it brings about other problems. It means you either have to bring three or four extra players which gets expensive for smaller federations or you leave them at home not training with the squad and have to fly them in this case half way around the world. Injuries like this are not that common in a tournament where most teams only play 3 or 4 matches. US was hindered because their midfield pool was limited because of club commitments. This might force EPB back to DM if CCV and Gladd are available going forward.

  4. Huge blow for this kid. If you saw the game he took a knock a couple minutes earlier and was limping around on it for a couple minutes then he had to make a challenge on the ball and that’s when he went down. Hard to say if Tab should have sub him out but Gedion didn’t motion to the bench or anything either. Always thought he had promise. He seems particularly good at passing the long thru ball thru deep midfield to more forward attacking players. He had a pass like that in the game but our forwards weren’t ready for it and I’ve watched some highlights of similar passes in his time with Arsenal during preseason friendlies. Hopefully he gets some great treatment and come backs soon.


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