The United States will have to qualify for the 2012 Olympics without Juan Agudelo. The New York Red Bulls striker, who scored in the Americans' first qualifying match, has torn the meniscus in his knee and will be out for the remainder of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. Whether Agudelo has to have surgery and the timeline for his return will not be determined until he meets with the Red Bulls' physicians back in New York.
Agudelo shined for the U.S. in their first qualifying match, but then again every American did against an overmatched Cuba team that went down to 10 men early and was then pummeled, 6-0. Now the U.S. will have to handle things without him, which will not be easy because he is their first choice striker. His absence means that Teal Bunbury will likely get a chance to shine, but he is coming off of a lackluster stint with the U.S. in January and a dip in form of late. If head coach Caleb Porter decides against going with Bunbury, Terrence Boyd, who debuted with the senior team in February, will get the nod.
Also of concern is what Agudelo's club team, the Red Bulls, will do without him. Luke Rodgers has yet to receive his visa so the team is down to just two strikers, Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper. Being down to two strikers for a few weeks while Agudelo was with the U.S. is one thing, but if this injury keeps him out a while, it could be a much bigger deal. New York needs Rodgers to get his visa situation sorted and quick.