MRI Reveals That USA Captain Claudio Reyna's Hamstring Injury is Minor
NASHVILLE (AP) – Claudio Reyna was smiling as he walked through the lobby of the U.S. team hotel Wednesday.
An MRI exam showed that the strained right hamstring he sustained during a 1-0 loss to Morocco the previous night was minor and there was no muscle damage. While the U.S. captain won't play in the Americans' two remaining exhibition games before the World Cup he should be ready for the opener against the Czech Republic on June 12.
"Good news definitely he said. "I'm happy more relieved today."
Reyna was injured about 11 minutes in Wednesday night when he tried to intercept a pass. The 32-year-old midfielder missed the 1994 World Cup because of a hamstring injury and the 2002 opening win over Portugal because of a strained right quadriceps.
He was playing with the U.S. team for the first time this year after a season with Manchester City interrupted by ankle and shoulder injuries that limited him to 23 of 44 games. His U.S. teammates count on him to control the tempo and settle them when opponents put on pressure.
"It's great news forward Brian McBride said. "We need Claud."
U.S. assistant coach Glenn Myernick said the staff wasn't overly concerned.
"There's no alarm bells going off that he's going to be out for a long time he said.
John O'Brien another U.S. midfielder with an injury filled history played the first half against the Atlas Lions and looked good. Coach Bruce Arena who is bringing O'Brien along slowly had planned to use him for just 45 minutes.
Since starring during the 2002 World Cup O'Brien's career has been derailed by Achilles tendon groin and hip problems.
"I felt good. I did some things that I wanted to do he said. "I had a couple of good passes. I had a couple of bad ones too. I think there's definitely room for improvement."
All along Arena has said his goal is to have O'Brien ready by tournament time. When healthy O'Brien is among the most-talented American players ever a former starter for Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
"The overall assessment of John throughout the camp since we started May 10 has been very positive Myernick said. "The fact that he's missed only one day of training through the whole process has been very good. With John I believe we're on schedule."
Pablo Mastroeni who replaced Reyna at defensive midfield had the only other health issue during Tuesday's game. He was hit on a knee and limped a bit but the knock wasn't believed to be significant.
After training Wednesday the U.S. team headed to Cleveland for Friday night's game against Venezuela. The Americans then meet Latvia on Sunday at East Hartford Conn. completing their three-game six-day sendoff series.
Against the 36th-ranked Atlas Lions the No. 5 Americans allowed a 90th-minute goal on a counterattack. They generated few offensive chances especially during the first half partly because they failed to cross the ball in front of the goal.
"Now we know that if the pretty soccer isn't there sometimes we're going to need to grind something out McBride said.
Because of the short rest time between games this week Arena will make many lineup changes – starting goalkeeper Kasey Keller said he probably won't play Friday but will on Sunday.
Left back Eddie Lewis is likely to see action Friday. He rejoined the team this week after playing for Leeds United in Wales last weekend.
"It's been a bit of a hassle obviously he said.
Lewis thought intensity was lacking against Morocco.
"The second half really we just had our foot off the pedal a bit struggled treating it as a warmup game rather than really taking it as an opportunity to really prepare like a World Cup game he said.
Myernick said veteran players often are at a lower level during warmup matches.
"It's almost like watching the NBA before the second half of May is kind of a waste of time he said.