CHICAGO (Sunday, May 12, 2002) - U.S. midfielder Chris Armas, one of the standout performers for the United States over the last three years, suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the first half of the USA's 2-1 win against Uruguay at RFK Stadium this afternoon. The injury will force Armas to miss the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
"I'm extremely disappointed for Chris," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "Chris has been an outstanding performer with our team and a fine professional. We are indebted to his service to the U.S. National Team. He will certainly serve as an inspiration to his teammates this summer."
A decision on a replacement is expected to take place in the next few days.
The non-contact injury occurred in the 16th minute, when the Bronx, NY native was tracking down Uruguay's Fabian O'Neill along the right wing. Armas stepped with his right foot and fell to the ground. Armas played another eight minutes before being replaced by Pablo Mastroeni in the 24th minute. Following the match he was taken to Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Va., where an MRI revealed the tear. Armas has returned to New York, and surgery has not yet been scheduled.
"I'm extremely disappointed," said Armas. "More so for my family, parents and friends who had all booked their tickets to the World Cup. It was a very odd play; a movement that I have made a thousand times. I had just planted on my right foot and I felt the knee go. In life these things happen. Right now I don't think it's fully sunk in, but I will be focusing on supporting my teammates in the World Cup."
Armas, 29, has earned 45 caps for the United States since 1998. A perennial starter, he played in 13 of 15 games for the USA in 2001, tied for most on the team. The 2000 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year tied for second most appearances during 2002 World Cup qualification, starting 14 of 16 matches.
The injury is eerily similar and equally disappointing to one that Armas suffered in the Summer of 2000 after he had been named as one of three over-age players to be added to the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team for the 2000 Olympics.