USA Loses Second World Cup Player as Cory Gibbs Go

USA Loses Second World Cup Player as Cory Gibbs Goes Down With Injury; Replaced by BerhalterNEWSNASHVILLE (AP) -The U.S. World Cup defense took an unexpected blow Thursday when Cory Gibbs was removed from the roster because of a knee injury sustained in this week's exhibition game against Morocco and was replaced by Gregg Berhalter. Gibbs played the entire game at left back during Tuesday night's 1-0 loss at Nashville Tenn. His right knee swelled Wednesday and tests showed he will be sidelined at least for several weeks perhaps longer.He became the second of eight U.S. defenders to be dropped because of a knee injury. One day after making the roster on May 2 Frankie Hejduk found out he had torn his right anterior cruciate ligament the previous weekend and he was replaced by Chris Albright. Gibbs' latest injury appears to be eerily similar to the one he sustained in an exhibition against England last May. After playing that entire game his left knee swelled due to a cartilage injury and he didn't return to action until February."Naturally we are very sorry for Cory U.S. coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. "We know he was looking forward to playing in his first World Cup. I believe strongly in him as a player. We are going to miss him." At 6-foot-3 Gibbs was expected to provide height and muscle to the U.S. defense which faces tough tests in first-round games against the Czech Republic Italy and Ghana. On May 8 Charlton of England's Premier League announced it would sign Gibbs if he could get a work permit. The 26-year-old who has 19 international appearances finished last season with ADO Den Haag in the Netherlands on loan from Feyenoord of Rotterdam. Berhalter in Florida after completing his club season in Germany with Energie Cottbus was to join the team before Friday night's game against Venezuela at Cleveland Browns Stadium. He is captain of Cottbus which was promoted to the Bundesliga for next season. "In Gregg we are fortunate to have a player of his experience ready to step in to his second World Cup Arena said. "I'm confident that Gregg will be able to contribute immediately to our team."Berhalter a 32-year-old with 44 international appearances had a rough night in the 4-1 exhibition loss at Germany in March. He also played a role in the goal that knocked the Americans out of the 2002 tournament. Germany's Michael Ballack outjumped Berhalter and Tony Sanneh to head a free kick past Brad Friedel in the 39th minute for the lone goal in the quarterfinal matchup in South Korea. Berhalter nearly helped his team get even 10 minutes later but Scottish referee Hugh Dallas didn't call a penalty kick after Berhalter's shot went off the left hand off defender Torsten Frings who was standing on the goal line. Friday night's game will be the second in the three-game six-day send-off series which concludes Sunday against Latvia in East Hartford Conn. While the United States is ranked fifth in the world Venezuela is just 71st."It's important for us to get a good result Landon Donovan said. "We want to get that winning feeling back heading into the World Cup."Notes:This will be the first game for the U.S. soccer team in Cleveland since a 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich during the run-up to the 1994 World Cup. ... MF Claudio Reyna (strained right hamstring) is unavailable. MF Clint Dempsey (sore back) said he should be able to play. ... GK Kasey Keller isn't expected to play so Tim Howard and Marcus Hahnemann could see action