By IVES GALARCEP
HARRISON, N.J.– As 21 players walked around the Red Bull Arena field after the final whistle of Sunday’s match between the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo, one player didn’t move. Corey Ashe stood inside the center circle, hunched over, hands on his knees, frozen in place.
At first it appeared that perhaps Ashe was taking Houston’s 2-0 loss tougher than the rest, but when two teammates walked over and put their arms around him to help him limp off the field, it became very clear just why Ashe had the look of someone devastated by the prospects of another terribly-timed injury.
Ashe was due to depart from Houston to San Diego on Monday for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup training camp, but that appears to be in question now after Ashe suffered what appeared to be a thigh injury in the second half of Sunday’s match.
Ashe was on the receiving end of a hard challenge from Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill mid-way through the second half, and while it looked as though he had shaken off the effects of the collision, it became clear late in the match that Ashe had suffered an injury that could cost him a place on the U.S. team.
The Dynamo did not release details of Ashe’s injury, but there was visible discoloration on Ashe’s right thigh, just above the knee, as he sat in his locker after the match, with his face in his hands for several minutes. He had the look of a player who was dreading the possibility of seeing another national team call-up foiled by an injury.
Ashe was called up by Klinsmann ahead of the U.S. team’s training camp in May, but had to withdraw due to a groin injury suffered the weekend before camp.
Klinsmann could choose to still bring Ashe into camp even with an injury, assuming it is a thigh bruise and nothing structurally wrong with his right knee. The U.S. Gold Cup squad boasts DaMarcus Beasley and Edgar Castillo as left back options, so Ashe wasn’t expected to play much to begin with, but after being one of the better left backs in MLS, Ashe had earned the chance to challenge for playing time.
If Ashe is forced to withdraw from the Gold Cup squad, Klinsmann would have to call in a player from the 12-player provisional roster pool:
Tally Hall, Matt Besler, Carlos Bocanegra, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Davis, Brad Evans, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Johnson, Brek Shea, Graham Zusi, Alan Gordon, Bobby Wood
What do you make of this development? Hoping Ashe can recover in time to be on the Gold Cup roster? Who would you add to the team if Ashe is forced to withdraw?
Share your thoughts below.