Albright replaces injured Hejduk on World Cup roster
NEW YORK -- Chris Albright made the U.S. World Cup roster a day late, earning a spot Wednesday after a test revealed Frankie Hejduk has a torn knee ligament.
Hejduk was injured Saturday while playing for Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew. He thinks he was hurt when he went up for a header and a Kansas City player landed on him, but he played the full game and there wasn't much swelling. Hejduk participated in Tuesday's training session but after feeling pain in his right knee, he had an MRI exam Wednesday, which revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Albright will be making his first World Cup trip. The 31-year-old Hejduk was a member of the U.S. team at the 1998 and 2002 tournaments.
"I deeply regret having to replace Frankie Hejduk on the roster," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. "Frankie has been a great member of the national team program for many years."
Albright was among the 13 alternates announced Tuesday along with Arena's original 23-man roster, which included eight defenders. The 27-year-old becomes the second member of the Los Angeles Galaxy on the team, joining Landon Donovan.
Albright played in six World Cup qualifiers last year and can be used as an outside back on either side.
"I think Chris could have fit in the group," Arena had said Tuesday, "but the eight we decided on gives us the right kind of balance we need in the back in case of injuries, and I think they're all capable and experienced enough to get the job done."
Arena also had to tab his replacements four years ago, when midfielder Chris Armas tore an ACL. Greg Vanney was set to replace Armas but tore a knee ligament, and Steve Cherundolo got the spot only to injure a knee in training and miss all five games the Americans played in the tournament.