Photo by Perry McIntyre/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
The injury Aron Johannsson left the World Cup with is one that he carried into the tournament as well.
AZ Alkmaar team director and former U.S. Men’s National Team player Earnie Stewart told ESPN FC on Wednesday that Johannsson had been dealing with an ankle knock prior to the start of the World Cup. Stewart said that playing with the injury wasn’t an issue, and that he had gone through the same type of problem during his playing days.
“He’s had this injury for a longer while than at the U.S. National Team,” said Stewart. “It was something that you could play with. It wasn’t a problem. I’ve played with the same problem myself. Once it’s time to rest, it’s something that can aggravate you every time you step out on the field.”
The injury would seem to explain why Johannsson was surprisingly limited to just 67 minutes in a World Cup that saw the Americans reach the Round of 16 and lose top striker Jozy Altidore to injury in their tournament opener vs. Ghana.
Altidore sustained a Grade 2 hamstring tear in the 23rd minute of that 2-1 win against the Black Stars, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann summoned Johannsson off the bench in what was the 23-year-old forward’s lone cameo in the competition. Chris Wondolowski was the forward brought off the bench in two of the remaining three matches.
Prior to the World Cup, Johannsson had played in one of the Americans’ three send-off series friendlies. He was substituted into the first game against Azerbaijan and contributed with 28 minutes and a goal in the 2-0 triumph.
Johannsson had surgery on his hurt ankle this past Tuesday. Stewart believes Johannsson will be forced to miss the first month of AZ’s season but should be back in time for the the Sept. 13 match against Heerenveen.
What do you make of this development? Should Johannsson have been selected to the USMNT’s World Cup roster? Would Klinsmann have been better served taking someone like Terrence Boyd?
Share your thoughts below.