SOMERSET, N.J. (July 22) -U.S. midfielder Pablo Mastroeni and defender Eddie Pope have been ruled out of the Gold Cup championship match against Panama after suffering left ankle sprains in the USA's come from behind victory against Honduras.
Pope was injured on a challenge in the 15th minute, while Mastroeni was the victim of a vicious studs-up tackle early in the second half. Neither challenge resulted in a foul being called.
The U.S. has now lost three players to injury in the tournament as the result of reckless tackles, Steve Cherundolo the third victim in the quarterfinal against Jamaica. Cherundolo suffered a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his right knee, sidelining the defender for 6-8 weeks.
Mastroeni and Pope will return to their clubs later this afternoon to continue rehabilitation.
The U.S. lost a fourth player to injury during the tournament, Conor Casey suffering a torn ACL in the 66th minute of the USA's 4-1 victory over Cuba in their opening match of the Gold Cup.
The U.S. will take on Panama in the Gold Cup final on Sunday, July 24 at 3 p.m. ET live on Univision, and ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.