ATLANTA — Atlanta defender Miles Robinson was carried off the field on a stretcher after collapsing to the artificial turf with a non-contact injury to his left leg Saturday in United’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire.
Atlanta coach Gonzalo Pineda said Robinson will have an MRI on his Achilles tendon.
Pineda was not optimistic.
“Miles Robinson doesn’t look good, but again, we have to wait for the test and the MRIs and just to see if we can confirm something on that end,” the coach said.
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A serious injury to the 25-year-old central defender could cost him a roster spot at the World Cup, where the U.S. opens on Nov. 21 against Ukraine, Scotland, or Wales. Robinson started 11 of the Americans’ 14 World Cup qualifiers.
Robinson took a step back near the midfield stripe to head a ball that had been headed by Chinonso Offor in the 14th minute. With Stanislav Ivanov closing in but not making contact, Robinson headed the ball down and kicked it forward with his right foot as he landed awkwardly and fell.
Robinson pointed at his left leg with his both arms, pounded the artificial turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and pointed at his leg again as athletic trainers came out to attend to him.
He was removed on a stretcher in the 16th minute.
Robinson has three goals in 21 international appearances. He scored in the 1-0 win over Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final last August.
Walker Zimmerman had nine starts in central defense during qualifying, Chris Richards four, John Brooks and Mark McKenzie two each, and Tim Ream one. Aaron Long, Erik Palmer-Brown and Cameron Carter-Vickers also are possibilities for U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter.
Atlanta already has lost goalkeeper Brad Guzan (right Achilles), midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (right ACL) and third-string keeper Dylan Castanheira (left Achilles) to season-ending injuries.
Star forward Josef Martinez had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that the team said on April 8 would sideline him for six-to-eight weeks.
“I have had some years – whether I was a player or was a coach in Seattle – where we had a couple of long-term injuries, as well, but nothing like this, especially not in the first 10 games of the season,” Pineda said. “We have a very good sports science department. We measure everything. We reflect on everything we do. I think they do a very, very good job – their standard is very high and obviously, we will check again, but I don’t think there’s anything particularly different to what we’re doing compared to last year or even years before.”
Atlanta defender Brooks Lennon said it took the team some time to recover from the shock of seeing Robinson go down.
“Just heartbreaking,” said Lennon, who scored United’s final goal. “I think we were all kind of stunned. We’re praying for him. We wish him a speedy recovery. Just another blow to the team, which is not great for us.”