Berhalter to replace injured Gibbs on US WC roster
Come down off that ledge, USMNT fans. This isn't great news (okay, it's really bad news). But ultimately, I think this will work out OK. We've lost Cory Gibbs to a right knee injury, and now Gregg Berhalter is coming in to replace him. Let's sort through the issues one by one:
First, is the loss of Gibbs at left back devastating? Probably not. I think Bruce was planning on going with Pope and Gooch as CBs, and then possibly using Cory or Eddie Lewis at left back. However, now it's much more likely that if we break out a flat back four we'll see Eddie Lewis on the left flank. That's a bit risky, because he's not a natural defender, and he lacks size, but he is faster and better offensively than Gibbs, so that's a plus.
The real concern would be if we were looking to use a three-man backline. I think the Pope/Gooch/Gibbs combination would have been great there. Now that will look like Pope/Gooch/Berhalter (or Conrad), which I'm less thrilled with. But it's not a disaster, because
Second, Berhalter is a very solid defender. He played poorly against Germany in the 4-1 loss, and he's had more than his share of gaffes (I bet he got a really nice thank you note from Adriano for that gift of a goal he gave the Brazilian back in the 2003 Confeds Cup). He also captained his 2.Bundesliga side to promotion and scored the promotion-clinching goal in the process. So having him in there is no disaster. It does mean we're more likely to see Jimmy Conrad, though, since Bruce was clearly more enthused about him.
But finally, this is just awful news for Gibbs. According to ussoccer.com, he injured the knee at some unspecified time during the Morocco match, which may be good news, since the knock wasn't drastic enough to put him right out of the game. But while we don't know how serious the injury is, knee injuries are never great, and now Gibbs is looking injury-prone, which makes him less attractive to clubs. Of course, he's already signed for Charlton, so that's not an immediate concern, but still, it's a real disappointment. I hope the injury is minor and that he gets over it as soon as possible.