U.S. men’s national team player Chris Richards has been officially ruled out of the World Cup.
The young defender picked up a leg injury in August, keeping him on the sidelines. Though the Crystal Palace figure was expected to make a quick recovery and comeback before the tournament, he has since confirmed the absence.
“Gutted that this injury has ruled me out of the world cup, but I know that the boys will go crazy regardless,” Richards said in an Instagram post. “Will be rooting for y’all the whole way. Go out and make history.”
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira commented on the American ahead of their match against West Ham on Sunday, teasing the news.
“Chris has started doing some work outside, but he didn’t do any kind of training with the team yet,” Vieira said.
“What is important is about him physically, there is a step he has to go through and at the moment he hasn’t done any kind of training with the squad. So the decision is not going to be mine but with the doctor we have to decide as a club what is best for the club.”
Richards earned eight caps for the USMNT before the injury, featuring in five World Cup qualifiers over the last 13 months. Gregg Berhalter will also be without center back Miles Robinson for the international tournament, forcing him to use a new backline.
“Some of the guys we’re working with right now, Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman, we’re able to work with them now for about two weeks, which would be a good period,” Berhalter told ESPN.
“Guys that were injured last camp, like Cameron Carter-Vickers is now back on the field. That’s helpful. Mark McKenzie’s playing every week in Belgium. Eric Palmer-Brown’s playing every week in France. And Tim Ream is playing every week in the Premier League. That’s a good thing. So I’m pretty comfortable that with that group we can get four center backs that can help us win games.”
Berhalter is set to announce the final 26-player roster on Wednesday November 9, weeks before they kick off against Wales on November 21.