Marco Ureña

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LAFC striker Marco Urena out indefinitely after facial surgery

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LAFC has had plenty of firsts this season. The MLS expansion franchise has been a force to be reckoned with in its inaugural season, sitting second in the Western Conference standings.

Now, the club will have to contend with its first major injury.

Bob Bradley will have some shuffling to do after the club confirmed that Marco Urena will undergo surgery for a facial injury suffered in last weekend’s victory over Seattle Sounders. The injury was first reported by Costa Rican outlet La Nacion.

According to the Nacion report, Urena suffered microfractures under his left eye in a clash with Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei during the 1-0 victory on Sunday. Urena played the entire 90 minutes and was not substituted. According to that same report, immediately after the match, Urena had swelling and numbness in the area which prompted further tests that showed fractures. With the goal of being healthy for the national team’s trip to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, Urena reportedly asked to be operated on as soon as possible.

While MLS reporter Sam Stejskal’s tweet above says there is no timetable for Urena’s return to fitness, the Nacion report claims that it’s possible Urena will not play for LAFC again before the World Cup beings in mid-June. It says that he will continue to maintain his fitness while off the field, and could potentially restart contact drills after four weeks.

Urena has not scored yet this season in seven matches for LAFC, but he has been integral to the club’s solid start. The third pick of the expansion draft this past offseason from the San Jose Earthquakes, Urena has played all but 19 of the 630 possible minutes thus far this season.

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

USA 0-2 Costa Rica: USMNT face-plants vs. Ticos… again

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Bruce Arena’s honeymoon is over.

It lasted exactly four 2018 World Cup qualifiers, as the old-boss-turned-new-boss helped the U.S. national team out of a deep hole following the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann, before suffering his first defeat (this time around) in the Hexagonal at the hands of Costa Rica, the side which routed the USMNT 4-0 last November, on Friday.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USA 0-2 Costa Rica ]

With only three games still to play, Arena’s men sit third in the Hex, now six points behind Costa Rica, and as many as nine behind Mexico (pending their result versus Panama). A victory would have pulled the USMNT level for second. In short, it’s a disastrous result, particularly given the level to which the Yanks controlled the vast majority of the game.

The USMNT was denied its clearest chance of the opening half-hour, when Jozy Altidore was taken down inside the penalty area by Kendall Waston, but the referee was unmoved by the American pleas and waved for play to continue. It was a clear penalty, and a monumental let-off for Los Ticos.

Right on the half-hour mark, Costa Rica made the Yanks pay for their failure to turn spells of possessional dominance into a goal. Marco Ureña found 30 yards of empty space between Tim Ream and Geoff Cameron, and the San Jose Earthquakes striker twisted and turned the former as he dribbled into the penalty area, worked the ball onto his right foot and beat Tim Howard far post.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from USA 0-2 Costa Rica ]

Christian Pulisic was denied by Keylor Navas, in unbelievable fashion, in the 67th minute. Clint Dempsey‘s free kick pinballed around the penalty area and fell to Michael Bradley, who played the ball into space for Pulisic’s left-footed strike. The ball deflected off a defender, wrong-footing Navas in the worst way, but the Real Madrid goalkeeper was spectacular in his reaction, throwing his right hand in the air to palm the ball onto his foot and clear his lines.

With nine minutes left in regular time, Costa Rica landed the knockout punch. David Guzman strolled through the heart of midfield and played Ureña, who had acres of space himself, behind Ream and Cameron, and Howard could do nothing to deny him one-on-one.

The USMNT travels to San Pedro Sula next, for a matchup with Honduras, the side with which they’re tied for third place, on Tuesday.