The United States women’s national team received a crushing blow on Saturday with the news that defender Ali Krieger will miss 6-8 months with a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee. Krieger was stretchered off the field just before halftime in Friday’s 14-0 victory over the Dominican Republic to open CONCACAF Olympic qualifying.
Krieger, 27, will likely miss the London Olympics this summer, should the U.S. qualify. She played every minute at right back in the 2011 World Cup as one of the U.S.’ most consistent players. The Virginia native has earned 26 caps for the U.S.
Now, head coach Pia Sundhage is tasked with replacing the stallwart defender. Her options include Heather Mitts and Becky Sauerbrunn. Christie Rampone, Rachel Buehler and Amy LePeilbet – the three other starting U.S. defenders – could be options to slide into that role as well. Mitts replaced Krieger in the 42nd minute of Friday’s game.
Krieger is remaining positive despite tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.
“I feel so unfortunate and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, especially to have it happen in a match where we were in control,” Krieger said in a statement. “Soccer is a funny game and this is part of being an athlete. It’s unfortunate that the timing is really bad, but this team is about way more than one player and I know with all the support from my teammates, my family and friends and from U.S. Soccer, I will come back stronger than ever. It’s going to be a fun year and I’ll be with the team in spirit the whole way, even if I have to be a vocal leader, just sitting and watching.”
The U.S. has two games left in group play against Guatemala on Sunday and Mexico on Tuesday. Only the two tournament finalists will advance to the London Games. The top two teams from each group will move onto the all-important semifinal round.