Casey, two others out for second leg
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The U.S. will be without striker Conor Casey for four to six weeks after a post-match MRI revealed that he strained a muscle behind his right knee during Sunday's U.S.-Grenada World Cup qualifier.
The 22-year-old, who recently signed with FSV Mainz of the German Bundesliga, suffered the injury when he collided with Grenada left back Franklin Baptiste in the 18th minute. His knee appeared to buckle on the landing, which left the 6-foot-1 striker lying on the Crew Stadium turf holding his knee. Jovan Kirovski came on to replace him.
In addition to Casey, the U.S. side will not include Eddie Lewis and Eddie Pope when it travels to Grenada for the second leg of the home-and-home aggregate series on June 20, since both players carry a yellow card caution into the match. In their places, Arena has already added Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin from the Kansas City Wizards, as well as Pablo Mastroeni from the Colorado Rapids.
Arena was jokingly asked if there'd be trouble with MLS teams with the move since Mastroeni was held back by Rapids head coach Tim Hankinson last week, to which he made a point to say that Major League Soccer has been overly cooperative with his call-ups and he doesn't see any further controversies.
"Coaches are coaches," said the U.S. manager after his team's 3-0 victory. "They get nervous. They've always been very supportive of the National Teams. We could have done anything we desired. Coaches need to win games to make a living. And I don't blame coaches when they feel the need to do things that are in the best interest of their team."
As of the moment, Arena doesn't foresee any other call-ups or changes to the roster.
"I don't think so," he said. "Unless something happens."
One player the U.S. coaching staff will be monitoring is striker Brian McBride, who took quite a knock on the back of his head from Grenada defender Brian Benjamin in the 13th minute of the match.
The Fulham star stayed down on the turf for two minutes in obvious pain.
"It was a lot more scary than normal," said McBride, who has suffered too many knocks to his face, jaw and head to count over his nine years as a professional. "I was stinging throughout my body, and I couldn't feel my hands."
Fortunately, the U.S. striker was able to return to the match and play without too much pain.
To prepare for the second leg, the Americans will head east to Long Island, where they will train for three days before flying to Grenada on Friday for Sunday's match in St. George's.
Marc Connolly covers American soccer for ESPN Soccernet.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.