Friday, May 26, 2006

States Lose Key Defender for WC

USA.
Charlton Athletic's new American signing Cory Gibbs will miss the World Cup with a knee injury it was announced this evening. The US international defender played the full 90 of the States' 0-1 loss to Morocco in Nashville last night but sustained damage to his right knee that will keep him out of the finals.

Gibbs, 26, has 19 international caps and has played for St Pauli in Germany, Feyenoord and ADO Den Haag in Holland as well as Dallas Burn in MLS before joining Charlton last month. The Florida born defender was expected to line up at center back for America in the World Cup, or at left back, where he has also played.

He is replaced by 32 year old Gregg Berhalter, a veteran of the 2002 World Cup, where his goalbound header in the quarter final against Germany was notoriously handled on the line by Torsten Frings, but failed to impress Scottish referee Hugh Dallas, who waved play on.
Berhalter, who captains Energie Cottbus in Germany and had a spell with Crystal Palace, has 44 caps for the USA and was a surprise exclusion from Bruce Arena's initial 23 man squad.

Gibbs is the second defender to withdraw hurt from the squad after Frankie Hejduk and the third from the World Cup pool in recent weeks following Manchester United's Jonathan Spector dislocating his shoulder playing on loan for Charlton in the Premiership.

The States' opponents in the first round in Group E are Italy, Ghana and the Czech Republic. The starting eleven now looks likely to be as follows: Keller, Cherundolo, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Lewis, Mastroeni, Reyna, Dempsey, Beasley, Donovan, McBride.

Chivas USA's former Ajax ace John O'Brien impressed in his first comeback game for the States last night, while PSV's DaMarcus Beasley again disappointed, adding to calls that Reading's in-form Bobby Convey should replace him on the left side of midfield.

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