Even with one of the Netherlands’ top scorers in camp with the United States, the Costa Ricans may have had the game’s most dangerous player on Friday. We know that Jozy Altidore hasn’t been able to replicate his Eredivisie output for Jurgen Klinsmann, and we also know what Alvaro Saborio’s capable of doing in the heights of the Rocky Mountains. The U.S. patchwork defense was going to have their hands full with the Real Salt Lake star, even if Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron are very familiar with the Costa Rican No. 9.
I say “was going to have their hands full” because the RSL striker picked up a knee injury today in practice. He’s a doubt for Friday’s qualifier in Denver.
Costa Rican outlet Deportes Repretel was one of the first to report the news, via their Facebook page. Rough translation:
Sound the alarms for the national team. Alvaro Saborío has picked up a left knee injury, and Jorge Luis Pinto confirms he’s doubtful to start Friday against the United States.
As Major League Soccer points out, Saborío is undefeated in four meetings against the United States (3-0-1). He has scored once and assisted on another. While Pinto has a number of other options for goals — Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz, Christian Bolaños, and Jairo Arrieta — there isn’t a good like-for-like replacement for Saborío. If he’s out, Costa Rica may have to change their approach.
All of which will be a reprieve for the American defense. Gonzalez can handle Saborio, and Cameron’s no slouch, but Saborio is more than just a guy who’s going to butt heads with central defenders. Even the wide guys, whomever they are, will get a reprieve from Saborío’s absence …
If that happens. It’s only Wednesday. Saborío could wake up on Friday and be right as rain, though we should know more tomorrow.