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Strange McBride injury makes him questionable for Costa Rica qualifier.

By Robert Wagman

(Saturday, September 30, 2000) -- The plight of the United States’ World Cup qualifying situation continues to go from bad to worse.

Starting striker Brian McBride has suffered an unusual arm injury that could likely keep him out of the critical October 11 World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio.

The U.S. is already shorthanded for that qualifier. Midfielder Claudio Reyna is suspended for two matches for his abuse of the referee following the penalty kick call that gave Costa Rica an earlier 2-1 home victory. Midfielders Earnie Stewart and Eddie Lewis also are out, sitting out one game apiece for accumulated yellow cards.

Defensive midfielder is recovering from a knee injury though his recovery is proceeding ahead of schedule. No. 1 goalkeeper Kasey Keller is recuperating from a broken finger.

McBride, playing in England on loan to first division Preston North End, was kicked under his arm during Preston's 3-1 third-round Worthington Cup home loss to Coventry. At first the injury just seemed the usual knock, but then it became swollen and inflamed and was diagnosed as a potentially serious blockage from a blood clot.

McBride got off to a quick start at Deepdale, impressive in all three games he started. It is too early to tell if the injury is serious enough to sideline him for Costa Rica. If he cannot play, the U.S. will have to re-assess its forward combinations.

"He hurt his arm, an innocuous type of injury and a few days later it started to swell up quite badly," Preston trainer Mick Rathbone was quoted as saying on the Preston web site. "We undertook some special investigation and unfortunately, we discovered that he had a blood clot in his armpit. He will be out for a while. We're not exactly sure how long.

"He was going back to the United States anyway, for their World Cup qualifier, so he has returned a little bit earlier than he was supposed to do. The doctors will pick it up over there and keep us informed. We've liaised very closely with the American medical people and they will have a look at it and see what they think because, technically, he is still their player."

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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