By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Costa Rica may have to face the USMNT on Friday night without their captain and leading scorer Alvaro Saborio.
According to Costa Rican sports show Deportes Repretel, Los Ticos manager Jorge Luis Pinto confirmed Wednesday that Saborio is doubtful to start Friday’s World Cup qualifying match in Denver. The forward reportedly suffered an injury to his left knee during training.
Saborio leads Costa Rica’s current squad in both caps and goals, having scored 30 goals in 80 matches for his country. He has recorded a goal and an assist in his four matches against the USMNT. Costa Rica has a 3-0-1 record in those matches.
Real Salt Lake staff said Wednesday afternoon that the club has not yet spoken to anyone from Costa Rica about the extent of Saborio’s injury.
Here are some more stories to wrap up your Wednesday:
DROGBA DROPPED FROM IVORY COAST SQUAD
Ivory Coast manager Sabri Lamouchi has dropped longtime captain Didier Drogba from his squad for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Gambia, telling reporters that the striker “needs to work hard to get back to his best.”
Lamouchi said that he is concerned with Drogba’s fitness and form following his move from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua to Turkish side Galatasaray.
“He needs to work to become the Drogba you knew before,” Lamouchi told the Associated Press. “That’s why he’s not among those I called for the match against Gambia.”
Ivory Coast is currently unbeaten in its World Cup qualifying group and is a huge favorite over last-place Gambia for this weekend’s match. Many expect the 2014 World Cup to be Drogba’s final international tournament.
ROSSI BEGINS TRAINING AT FIORENTINA
After missing the last 16 months due to an ACL tear, Giuseppe Rossi has now started training with new club Fiorentina.
The U.S.-born, Italian international did two sessions in the gym with the Serie A side on Wednesday. Rossi signed a 4 1/2-year deal with Fiorentina in January after his transfer from relegated Spanish side Villarreal.
Rossi will continue training with the club for the next two weeks before flying back to the States to meet with his physician. He had been recuperating in his home state of New Jersey before arriving in Italy.
SUNDERLAND CAPTAIN CATTERMOLE LIKELY TO MISS REST OF SEASON
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill told reporters that he is expecting to miss captain Lee Cattermole for the final eight matches of the season.
The 24-year-old English defensive midfielder is currently undergoing injections to treat an injured knee that he twisted in a match back in late November. Cattermole returned to Sunderland’s lineup in a match against Arsenal last month, but he was forced to come off early due to problems with his other knee.
“We hope for the best, but to me, if he comes back this season, then that would be a bonus, and an unexpected bonus,” O’Neill said. “We may have to cope without him. And even if he does successfully come back from the injury, he will still be nowhere near match fit, as things stand.”
Cattermole has only made 14 appearances for the Black Cats and has not played a full 90 minutes since early November.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho told a Portuguese television station that he did not attend January’s Ballon d’Or ceremony because he felt that the FIFA Coach of the Year award vote was fixed. (REPORT)
AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng testified at the trial of six Pro Patria fans that were charged after Boateng left a January friendly because of racist chants against him. (REPORT)
Ireland international and Wolverhampton striker Kevin Doyle learned that he had been dropped from his country’s squad from a single text message. (REPORT)
The plane carrying Italy’s national team to its friendly at Brazil was struck by lightning on Wednesday. There were no injuries. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? What kind of effect do you think Saborio’s injury will have on Friday’s qualifier? What are your thoughts on Drogba’s exclusion from the Ivory Coast squad?
Share your comments below.