CHICAGO -- Stuart Holden's devastating 23rd minute right knee injury in the Gold Cup final added a somber tinge to what was otherwise a festive atmosphere at Soldier Field.
When Holden collided with Panama's Alberto Quintero and laid on the pitch for a minute after, the larger-than-expected crowd of 57,900 came to a complete silence. Holden was able to get up on his own and head to the sideline, and initial reports suggested the injury wasn't serious.
However, after the U.S. defeated Panama 1-0 to secure its fifth Gold Cup victory, Jurgen Klinsmann hinted that Holden's injury is severe.
"We are very concerned about Stu's situation, it looks like a very serious knee injury," Klinsmann said. "I'm not a doctor and I can't confirm it, we'll wait till tomorrow when things maybe look a bit better. We will get an MRI and all of the tests done."
Klinsmann also suggested that Holden knew instantly that the injury was a devastating one.
"Stu is a player when something happens, he knows it happened," Klinsmann added. "Hopefully, it's not as bad but its not looking good right now."
Holden's lengthy history with injuries began when Nigel de Jong broke his leg in a U.S. national team friendly against Holland in 2010. A year later with his club team Bolton, he tore his ACL after to a controversial studs up tackle from Manchester United center back Johnny Evans. For the next two years, Holden battled to get back to playing consistently, and after many setbacks he appeared to be on his way to getting his wish. Then the Quintero collision happened.
While players were happy with the U.S. winning the Gold Cup, it was clear that several were affected by Holden's status. During the Gold Cup trophy and medal presentation ceremonies, some players assisted Holden by carrying him on the stage.
When asked about Holden's status, Landon Donovan was visually distressed over his friend suffering another knee injury.
"Yeah, I mean," Donovan said, before pausing for a few seconds. "He's the soul of this team on this trip. We're bummed out for him."
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