The United States cruised to a 14-0 win over the Dominican Republic in Friday’s Olympic Qualifier but did not escape without a key loss to their backline in right back Ali Krieger. Krieger, 27, suffered a torn ACL and Grade 2 MCL sprain in her right knee when a Dominican Republic player recklessly tackled her while she followed through on a shot from the top of the 18 early in the match. Krieger has 27 caps in total, playing in every minute of the 2011World Cup, and will not be back in time for the 2012 Olympics in London. The team will miss her attacking presence from the right back position but look for Heather Mitts or Becky Sauerbrunn to step into her spot in the US line-up.
Krieger will most likely undergo ACL reconstructive surgery once swelling subsides and she regains normal range of motion and quadriceps control. In elite female soccer players, the ACL is commonly reconstructed using a graft taken from the patient’s patellar tendon or hamstring tendon while her specific MCL sprain should heal on its own. Typical recovery time to return to an international playing level is likely to be 6-8 months of dedicated rehab.
Unlike Krieger, approximately 80% of ACL injuries occur without contact as a result of poor deceleration patterns while landing jumps and changing direction. Krieger is the 8th player on the 20-player roster to experience a torn ACL with 9 ACL injuries occurring in total. (Barnhardt, Boxx, Buehler, LePeilbet, Mitts, Morgan, Rampone, and Rapinoe x 2)