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Aaron Long suffers potentially serious leg injury in Red Bulls loss to Union


Aaron Long jumped in the air in the final seconds of the New York Red Bulls 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on what looked like a harmless challenge, but his reaction after he landed and attempted to plant his right foot bore all the signs of a serious injury.

The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback immediately went down immediately and grabbed for his right leg in the 94th minute of Saturday’s match, eventually needing his teammates to carry him off the field. Long’s reaction and inability to put any weight on his right leg suggests he could have suffered an Achilles injury.

There has been no official word from the Red Bulls on the extent of Long’s injury, but he was carried to the locker room by a trainer and teammate, unable to put any weight on his right leg.

A serious Achilles injury would be a devastating blow for the 28-year-old defender, who was slated to be a starter for the USMNT in the upcoming Concacaf Nations League. If Long is seriously injured, then Gregg Berhalter will have to consider options ranging from Matt Miazga to Chris Richards and Miles Robinson for the right centerback spot next to John Brooks.

Long had enjoyed a strong start to the 2021 season, serving as a key veteran presence on a young Red Bulls side. If 2018 MLS Defender of the Year is forced to miss an extended period of time it will be a brutal blow for a Red Bulls side that will struggle to replace his quality in central defense.


  1. The best way to endear yourself to a portion of the NT fan base is to not actually appear in any national team games.

    • spinmeister. (1) does appearing a lot make ream miazga more effective or palatable? we can’t help when he plays the wrong people. and they are likely the immediate beneficiaries of this injury. (2) is it richards zimmermann CCV EPB etc.’s fault they don’t get used much? you confuse and conflate “not playing” with “playing poorly.” you read into the absence a negative. my whole point is we don’t know what the younger options offer because the starters get all the minutes and the coach’s second choice are crap veterans like ream and miazga who ship goals every time they see the field. i can’t help the corner he’s painted himself into. not my fault who he’s tried or not. i just wish he’d given richards CCV EPB and others a fuller “go” so i am not watching brooks and miazga or brooks and ream this summer, lord help us all.

    • You made my point we haven’t seen EPB or CCV so they must be better, but if they played they could make mistakes and then people would rail against them. Every player makes mistakes, when you don’t play you become this white whale that people look as the greatest if we just played CCV all our problems would go away. You bring up players often who played under Sarachan in which the players have said there were no tactics no strategy just go out and play. A player like Carter Vickers might fit that system just blast it out whenever comes to you or lay back to the keeper to do it. Don’t you think if those players were better than Brooks in one of their many loan periods someone from the top league would have come for them. Are you right and all the scouts in Europe are wrong? Maybe you are looking at different attributes for CBs than Berhalter or these top league clubs?

      • are you suggesting mr. 0-3 mexico 0-1 mexico 0-2 Canada 0-3 venezuela 0-1 Jamaica is some sort of tactical savant? i don’t doubt second rate sarachan rolled the ball out sans tactics. i also don’t doubt that during that period we beat mexico and tied france, which is better results than now. and i don’t know how on earth that weighs negatively against players he used. they don’t star or suck because sarachan used them. they show promise when they play and we beat mexico or tie france.

        your theories seem to believe the most important thing a back can do is pass the ball out which is a really bad analysis of what defenders are there to do. who cares if they can mark, it’s only half the game.

        you also assume that i will just mirror berhalter and back trialists who suck as my favorites. no, i am not the coach, i adjust to who plays well or bad. aaronson, for example, has sold me. acosta looked bad. keep one, discard the other. my wish is just we went through the other options and decided it on the field as opposed to on paper and some misguided pecking order like this is kingly succession.

  2. With an older player who is on the verge of retirement, not at all likely to be a viable option for the next WC ( like Ream, or say Altidore)- I’d always want the manager to give the benefit of the doubt to a younger player we know will be a likely fill a WC roster spot. Develop team cohesiveness and seasoning for the players who will be there. Long at 28 is at an age where he’ll certainly be of viable age through the cycle. Big bummer for Long and the team. But yeah- lets make the best and hope it forces/gives the opportunity for other players to step up a notch.

    • problem is he started out old, would be 29 next year if we qualify, 30 start of next cycle. 33-ish next world cup. this is his window. he will be shelved rest of this year or maybe as long as may 2022. that’s the summer tournaments gone and somewhere between 8-all of the qualifiers. march 2022 it’s supposed to be over. by next cycle the younger backs will be further emerged. rough timing.

      i will be curious what the landscape for his return looks like. i think brooks miazga ream are poor. i think robinson che richards haven;t been given much chance. so we’ll see if it’s a running mess or if some people emerge. i think GB will lean veteran and if it’s not CCV or Zimmerman a lot of the vets flat suck. but we have a friendly path into the first several qualifiers.

      • CCV was not on pre roster of 40 for Nations League. Should have been there to begin with but it’s a no brained with Ling out. Make that call Gregg

      • Yeah- like I said- Long is a good age/in his prime for this cycle. Next cycle he’ll beg getting up there in age and we’ve got upcoming /more talented prospects that should certainly pass him by. Hopefully with WC quals- Mckenzie settles in and starts next season to give us another in form option. If Richards continues his trajectory- guessing he will be the guy by next year. Miazga has certainly been getting starts- lets hope that translates into more consistency/focus as I suspect he will be Berhalter’s guy alongside Brooks for upcoming Nations Cup. Or maybe a dark horse comes out of nowhere…. say- Kik Pierie surprises everyone- caps w/ US

      • i don’t tend to “hope” on track record players. for a player in their mid 20s or 30s they are what they are. ream is what he is. miazga is what he is. i can show you on both who they gave up goals to when they played eg canada ireland panama northern ireland. i think “hope” is the equivalent of thinking i can run omar out there for TnT and get by OK. “hope” tends to bite you in the _______. “hope” is for players with no caps or played 10′. past that you have a track record and it’s best we be honest with ourselves what it is.

  3. Ronniet – The average “squad” age (including CBs) may be 24, but the Average CB age under Gregg has been disproportionally higher @ 29. When reviewing the CB’s used since Gregg took charge (11 games total)
    Long (28.5 yr) 67% of the games,
    Zimmerman (27.9 yr) 36% of games,
    Ream (33 yrs) 27% of games,
    Brooks (28.2 yrs) 27% of games,
    Miazga (25.7 yrs) 27% of games,
    Robinson (24.1) 9% of games,
    CCV (23.2 yrs) 0% of games,
    EPB (24 yrs) 0% of games.
    Dennis – It’s not youth for youth’s sake if the youth have the talent. A player seeing consistent minutes at the top end of the English Championship is equal to (possibly better than) a player in MLS. A consistent starter in the Bundesliga is playing at a higher level than MLS.
    We have to stop giving preferential treatment to players (Young or Old) and focus on getting the best talent at every position into the squad. The only way to do that is to actually give players a chance regardless of their age.

      • robinson has been playing for years as well. there is an almost willful naivete in some corners about treating certain players like young trialists because they technically are a low calendar age. after several years in you probably are what you are and need to just find someplace to get minutes. a lot of people discussing 6th or 7th year veterans like fulham is going to fix them. silly talk.

        for that matter, people acted like wil trapp was pretty new and he’s 28.

    • i see no correlation between performance and pecking order on this team, is the problem. to me ream miazga brooks robinson suck. some of them get time just based on being the veteran in the room. my concern is with long out he’s made no effort to groom richards and so he will fall back to the awful miazga and ream alongside brooks and we’re back to last cycle’s level of CB play. we’re about to be punished for not putting enough effort into finding marking CBs.

  4. In the World of Sports its next man up. Hope Ling does not have a season ending injury but at his age 28 that’s rough as soccer is trending towards younger guys. Long is definitely worth a spot on the USMNT but would not mind seeing Richards or Miazga get more looks.

    • cute to say but if you do it at forward we’ve capped a lot of people. if you do it at back or keeper we may be playing people who either suck or haven’t actually played much. we are such overdog fans under GB we hand all the playing time to certain starters. if they get hurt, we have no clue what to do or risk a bad veteran. we still haven’t grown from the backline mentality that had omar and villafana out there last time.

  5. While you never want to see a player get injured, especially a serious injury, this might actually end up being a positive for the USMNT in the long rung. Of all the positions CB has been the one Gregg has auditioned the fewest players. Instead he’s relied heavily on the “Old Gard” of Brooks, Ream, & Long…with very few opportunities for anyone else. This injury will likely force Gregg to play some new options (Richards & Robinson)…which will actually improve the depth of the position.

    • One of our starting CBs suffers a potential career altering injury and this is “a positive”?? No. You’re very very wrong. Cmon man

      • Yeah, this idea that 28 is old, or somehow Berhalter hasn’t given chances to other players is ridiculous. The masses continue to clamor for CCV but he’s been nothing more than a Championship level CB, Robinson can’t get games bc of injuries or more importantly bc Atlanta United has a stupid policy about not releasing players for NT games, and McKenzie was a rotational player once he signed with Genk. Richards has gotten minutes when it called in, albeit slowly, which shouldn’t surprise people since he’s really young. Miazga is still relatively young for a CB at 25, and has gotten more minutes lately and has been a revelation lately for Anderlecht. Now is the time to play our strongest lineups, instead of continuing to give younger player auditions, that shipped has sailed for right now but will pick back up I’m sure before WCQ’s and maybe even during the Gold Cup…the Nations League will and should feature our top players!

      • Better “long term”? He’s only 28. CBs can be in their prime into their early 30s. No idea why some people are clamoring for a starting CB duo that are in their early 20s. Show me a top team in that position.

      • when you do the math on the average age of the players Greg has been using of late for friendlies and his camps, it’s somewhere around 24y/o, so if that doesn’t tell you that Berhalter has been using younger players quite a bit, I don’t know what else will!

      • most of the good players are about age 20-21 or even younger (reyna pulisic mckennie musah adams) so if the average is 24 instead, that actually tells you we’re perseverating with some older trash to drive the average back up. eg johnson ream zardes brooks hamid yedlin jozy bradley.

        just like naive people can chat up how berhalter “tries a lot of people” ignoring how he approached 2019 and the fact any coach facing our emptied out roster after dempsey jones howard etc. left/ retired would have been auditioning just the same, and probably not take geological timescales to arrive at “the younger players are my better players.” just having to go through a whole “lovitz and roldan” phase is a waste of time.

        and often enough if he cuts sargent to keep jozy then he has reversed himself a few months later. he is glacially slow to pivot to the center of gravity on this team.

    • This is not positive for the USMNT. No matter how much you fancy young players, youth for youth’s sake is a fools game. Defenders generally continue to improve into their 30s, largely because it takes a lot of time to gather all the intellectual tools required of a good defender. Those skills and more importantly thought processes and the ability to concentrate for a full 90 minutes are learned from lots of games at the club level, not occasional run outs for a national team. In the end it is injury and the inability to recover from physical insults that ends careers. AT 28, Long has more years left if he can recover. Even attackers can continue to thrive and improve well past 28 if they can avoid or quickly recover from injury. Watch Lewandoski who is still getting better at 32, or Zlatan who is 39 and just resigned with AC Milan (of course, Zlatan is presently injured.) While Long is neither of those, using his age as an indictment against him is absurd.

      • it’s a matter of quality. there are simply very few talented players in our pool in their late 20s from whose experience PLUS talent we can benefit. in the abstract, fair point. in reality, there is a reason the last team didn’t qualify and it’s precisely the underperforming, barren age group you’re telling me to trust. to me the talent is 90% U24. is what it is. use the talent. i thought 2019 was what happened when one tries to build around older players not up to the job ever/anymore.

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