If you asked U.S. Soccer fans before the match for a worst case scenario, and this might have been it. I suspect most would rather their team lose the final of a “down” Gold Cup than see Stuart Holden leave Solider Field early with another potential knee injury.
It isn’t all gloom and doom quite yet. After going to ground in the 20th minute, Holden left the field under his own power, was briefly examined on the sideline, then gave way to Mikkel Diskerud. After a moment on the bench with his head in his hands, Holden was on his way to the locker room, undoubtedly to undergo a more detailed examination on his right knee.
This had every look of a precautionary measure, but with Holden’s injury history, nobody would be wrong to think the worst. Since suffering a left knee injury on March 19, 2011, Holden’s only played five games for his club (Bolton Wanderers), undergoing two major surgeries in that time. His health has been a major talking point throughout the tournament, with fans still harboring concerns for a player who’s become a favorite.
Those concerns will be heightened after Holden’s early exit in Chicago, an exit that came after Holden collided with Panama’s Alberto Quintero. Though today’s possible injury occurred to Holden’s right, non-repaired knee, fans concern is unlikely to be alleviated in the face of new, bad luck.
Holden immediately want to ground and grabbed the surgically repaired joint. When trainers reached him on the field, they immediately started testing the knee’s stability, the kind of prodding to the sides of the leg that you usually see when somebody suspects a ligament problem.
After a few moments’ examination on the sideline, Holden flopped flat on his back, arms outstretched in concession. His day was over.
Now Holden and U.S. Soccer fans play a waiting game. From almost all indications we saw from the field, this could merely be a hyper-cautious move in consideration of Holden’s injury history. But perhaps the most important indication — the fact that Holden couldn’t continue — means there’s reason to worry.