Carli Lloyd suffered a broken left ankle Sunday in Sky Blue FC’s 1-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars and has been placed on the 30-Day Injured Reserve.
Women’s Professional Soccer has presented a tough challenge for the U.S. international and Delran, N.J. native. After struggling through the league’s inaugural season with the Chicago Red Stars, Lloyd made the decision to return home to New Jersey as a free agent in the off-season. The move was meant to be a revitalization for Lloyd, who started 14 of her 16 games in Chicago in 2009, registering two goals and one assist.
In less than three games with New Jersey thus far, it is tough to really asses Lloyd’s effectiveness. Her efforts in the team’s first two games were relatively modest and her 27th minute injury in Sunday’s match means that she will not have a chance to prove herself for at least another month. That has to be heartbreaking for Lloyd, who came to New Jersey looking for a fresh beginning only to suffer another set-back in Chicago, of all places.
For Sky Blue FC, Lloyd’s injury means that captain Kacey White, who came on for the injured Lloyd to provide the assist for Natasha Kai’s game-winning goal Sunday, will have an increased role. Rosana has been in good form thus far and will have to take on an even larger role with the team in the absence of Lloyd. Those two will partner with Yael Averbuch and Heather O’Reilly. leaving Angela Salem as the only other midfielder on the roster. Laura Kalmari is more than capable of dropping into an attacking midifield role too and there should not be any trouble keeping the attack together.
That is an attack with some pressure on it to finish. Saturday’s match-up with FC Gold Pride will be critical for Sky Blue FC after losing 3-1 to the Pride in California April 17. The two teams sit at the top of the WPS table with six points each, but Sky Blue FC has managed just three goals in its first three games and has been less than convincing through stretches of those. Give credit to Head Coach Pauliina Miettinen for instilling a sense of winning close games in a team that lacked that trait in 2009, but there are more talented teams in the league than Chicago. Many will be looking for some offensive production Saturday in New Jersey.
For Lloyd, the injury means she will also miss the United States’ May 22 friendly with Germany in Cleveland.
Her injury also brings light to recent changes to the WPS injury reserve system. There is no longer a 60-Day IR, which Saint Louis Athletica star Daniella was initially put on. There is now only a 30-Day IR and a season ending injury reserve. Here is the official scoop from the league:
“At April’s WPS Board meeting, the league owners approved changes to the WPS Injured Reserve Policy from the previous 60-day Injured Reserve List.
Now, an injured reserve list called “30-day Injured Reserve” is available for players who experience a major injury. Once placed on the list, a player may not play in a league game for a minimum of 30 days. After the initial 30 days, up to a maximum number of days until June 30 (the day before player contracts are guaranteed), the player may remain on the IR or be activated, if the team chooses to do so.
For a player on the IR as of the last day before semi-guaranteed player contracts become guaranteed, the team must either activate the player or declare her to be a season-ending injury. During the time the player is on the IR, the player’s salary continues to count against the in-season total team salary compensation. If the team elects to replace the player while she is on the IR, they may do so, and the salary of the replacement player does not count against the cap.
The 60-day Injured Reserve policy is no longer in place. However, the season-ending injury policy remains unaltered: rostered players who are listed with season-ending injuries will not have their salaries count towards total team compensation and can be replaced by replacement players.”