Just when it seemed like everything was going right for Sporting Kansas City, bad news struck the squad in their last month of the regular season.
Honduras international midfielder Roger Espinoza, who has been instrumental in Kansas City’s Eastern Conference playoff clinching run, suffered a right anterior medial ankle sprain in stoppage time against the Columbus Crew on Sunday.
The former Ohio State Buckeye sustained the injury while in his old college town, but it’s more about his home country that Espinoza will be concerned about.
The injury means that Espinoza will now miss Honduras’ FIFA World Cup qualifiers against both Panama on October 12, and Canada on October 16.
Espinoza had an MRI and X-rays taken this morning in a Columbus hospital, but will head to Kansas City where he will be re-evaluated and ultimately receive treatment.
It’s too early to tell if this injury will spill over into Sporting’s run in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, but losing a player as important as Espinoza would be devastating. Sporting are already dealing with the loss of striker Teal Bunbury for the season.
Sporting skipper Peter Vermes remained optimistic following Sunday’s game saying, “It’s hard to tell you exactly, but I think he’s going to be okay. They think he just dorsiflexed his ankle a little past the point. We’ll have to see, but I think he’s going to be all right.”
His comments came before the 5th year player was examined today, however.
Sporting have two more regular season contests remaining. On October 20 they travel to Red Bull Arena to face the New York Red Bulls, then host the Philadelphia Union on October 24. Espinoza will likely miss both of these games now, and his return to the beginning of the playoffs is now officially up in the air.