Prior to Chivas USA's game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday, the team lined up in the traditional pregame lineup photo with a curious addition: midfielder Martin Rivero's jersey, where they displayed the Argentine's No. 5.
Fans wondered what that move was about, with speculation running the gamut. Was he hurt? Personal issues? Something else?
It turns out, it was an injury, and a pretty devastating one, as Rivero has torn his ACL on his right knee and will undergo surgery in the near future, as reported by the club in a release on Friday. The injury took place in the Goats' 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake last Saturday. Rivero drew the red card foul against RSL early in the match, but continued to play the full game, so it's unclear exactly when he was hurt.
The blow is a tough one for CUSA and for Rivero alike. He's the second player this season to go down with a torn ACL, following rookie Thomas McNamara in April. After joining the Goats that same month after his MLS rights were traded from the Colorado Rapids, Rivero needed some time to work his way into game shape, but he looked like an upgrade in the attack, supporting Mauro Rosales in that task from the midfield, and picking up three assists in just seven league appearances this season.
On a personal level, the 24-year-old's time in MLS has been marked by sustained injury problems, one of the reasons why the Rapids gave up on him despite his immense talent. But this injury is the worst of the lot, and it's pretty heartbreaking for him.
The team is not disclosing how long he'll be out, but it's a safe bet that he won't be back on the field in 2014. Miraculous comebacks from ACL tears are six months at the earliest, and the season ends before that point.
Best of luck to Rivero and we hope he's better than ever when he gets back on the field.
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