Posted on January 21, 2012
By Michael Lewis
VANCOUVER — The U.S. Women’s National Team’s worst fears were confirmed on Saturday when starting right fullback Ali Krieger learned that she will miss from six to eight months after sustaining tears to her MCL and ACL on her right knee.
The news was a major and devastating setback for the team and Krieger, who emerged as a star and one of the most pleasant surprises for the U.S.’s second place at the Women’s World Cup in Germany last summer.
The 27-year-old Krieger suffered the injury late in the first half of the U.S.’s 14-0 trouncing of the Dominican Republic at BC Place on Friday night.
Krieger, who is likely to miss the Olympics, was taken out of the game on a stretcher in the 42nd minute after after Leonela Mojica raked her right knee with an extended foot while she was shooting. Krieger was in great pain while team medical officials examined her on the field.
She had an MRI on Saturday morning, which confirmed the injuries.
Veteran international Heather Mitts, who replaced Krieger on the field, is expected to start for the U.S. in its second qualifying match against Guatemala on Sunday night.
The Americans, however, cannot replace Krieger on the Olympic qualifying roster as teams cannot make changes once the tournament has started.
“I feel so unfortunate and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, especially to have it happen in a match where we were in control,”Krieger said in a press release. “Soccer is a funny game and this is part of being an athlete. It’s unfortunate that the timing is really bad, but this team is about way more than one player and I know with all the support from my teammates, my family and friends and from U.S. Soccer, I will come back stronger than ever. It’s going to be a fun year and I’ll be with the team in spirit the whole way, even if I have to be a vocal leader, just sitting and watching.”
Krieger, who has earned 27 caps, played every minute of all six WCC matches and converted the Americans’ fifth and final penalty kick to put the finishing touches in the quarterfinal shootout win over Brazil.
Krieger is in her fifth year of playing for FFC Frankfurt in Germany.
“You can’t control [injuries] so you look at the situation. She’s been wonderful all the way up until now,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said in a statement. “Ali has played very well, but I think (the team is) prepared for whoever is coming in for her. I’m really sorry for Ali, but she’s young and there are so many games in front of her. I hope she comes back (strong) and I know she will.”
Neither Sundhage or Krieger were available to talk to the media on Saturday.
Categories: Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, North America, Olympic Qualifying, Women
Tags: 2011 Women's World Cup, Ali Krieger, CONCACAF Olympics women qualifying tournament, Pia Sundhage