Reyna MRI negative, will miss Cup warmup
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A day after straining his right hamstring in a lackluster 1-0 loss to Morocco, U.S. captain Claudio Reyna said the injury was minor.
Reyna had an MRI exam Wednesday before the Americans left for Cleveland, where they play Venezuela on Friday night, and the scan showed no damage.
"Good news, definitely," he said. "I'm happy, more relieved today."
Reyna was injured about 11 minutes in Tuesday night when he tried to intercept a pass. Four years ago, he missed the opening 3-2 win over Portugal because of a strained right quadriceps, then returned for the final four games as the Americans advanced to the quarterfinals in their best showing since 1930.
The 32-year-old midfielder is among only seven players in this year's tournament appearing on a World Cup roster for the fourth time. In 1994, he missed the entire tournament because of a right hamstring injury.
Because of the injury, he won't play Friday, when the Americans play Venezuela at Cleveland, or Sunday against Latvia at East Hartford, Conn., in their last game before their World Cup opener against the Czech Republic on June 12.
"There's no alarm bells going off that he's going to be out for a long time," U.S. assistant coach Glenn Myernick said.
Reyna was limited to 23 of 44 games last season with Manchester City in England's Premier League. He injured his right knee and ankle Oct. 22, returned Dec. 4 and played four games, then found out he had been playing on a broken ankle and had surgery. In his third game after coming back, he dislocated his right shoulder March 18 against Wigan. He returned again April 8 and started the final six games of the season.
After he left, the fifth-ranked Americans looked shaky against the No. 36 Atlas Lions, and they lost a home game for the first time since last May 28 against England. Morroco got a 90th-minute goal on a counterattack by Mohamed Madihi after defender Steve Cherundolo lost the ball to Bouchaib El Moubarki.
"I took a bad touch and pretty much gave it to them," Cherundolo said.
While the Americans outshot Morocco 13-5, they generated only a few good scoring chances. The best opportunity came in the 82nd minute, when Landon Donovan's 25-yard shot was parried by goalkeeper Tarek El Jarmouni. With an open net, Eddie Johnson got little on the ball as he shanked the rebound. Bobby Convey then hit the side of the net on a 25-yard free kick in second-half injury time.
"We weren't sharp. I think we're a little bit leg-weary. We're a little bit overtrained at this point," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "We didn't do a good job creating chances. Our last pass was poor. Our crossing was poor."
His focus is the second-ranked Czech Republic.
"Nobody had a feel for the game," midfielder DaMarcus Beasley said. "It was kind of sloppy. Whoever made a mistake wasn't going to win the game, and we made it."
A crowd of 26,141, many waving red, white and blue, came to The Coliseum, the largest attendance for a soccer game in Tennessee.
Cherundolo played right back in the first half and pushed up to midfield in the second as the United States switched from four midfielders to five. Brian McBride and Josh Wolff started up front, with Donovan behind them as an attacking midfielder.
Cory Gibbs started at left back in place of likely World Cup starter Eddie Lewis, who rejoined the team after playing Sunday for Leeds United in its playoff loss to Watford at Cardiff, Wales.
Midfielder John O'Brien, coming off a string of injuries, had several effective passes in the first half, then was replaced by Bobby Convey. Beasley had a good two-way game on the left wing, and Cherundolo made a number of penetrating runs.
"It's a nice wakeup call," Donovan said. "We only have two more games to get ready."