U.S. injury update: Bocanegra, Gooch, EJ

Better news for U.S. fans on the injury front:

ZURICH (AP) – U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra says he’ll be ready for next week’s World Cup training camp after a late-season injury had him fearing for his place in the roster.

The defender has missed Rennes’ last two Ligue 1 matches because of stomach pains he could not explain and will skip Saturday’s season finale at Boulogne.

“Obviously, I was scared,” he told The Associated Press Friday. “I just got fatigued and had to take a few weeks off.”

Bocanegra’s problems began when an opponent kicked his left knee in a March 28 match against Le Mans.

“I was overcompensating because I wasn’t running properly,” he said.

The 30-year-old from Alta Loma tried to play through groin and abdominal
pain against Lyon the next week.

He became alarmed with the approach of the U.S. team’s World Cup opener against England on June 12 in South Africa.

“I came to a point where I thought, OK, I need to think about the World Cup a little bit now,” he said. “It’s not far away. What’s going on here? So I had to shut it down.”

Bocanegra got his club’s approval to train at his own pace. By skipping Rennes’ final Ligue 1 match, he was free Friday to join U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati at FIFA in presenting the five-volume bid book to host the World Cup in the United States for a second time in 2018 or 2022.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter thanked the U.S. delegation for bringing the national team
captain.

Bocanegra flies home Saturday. The 30 players selected by coach Bob Bradley for his
preliminary roster start workouts Monday in Princeton, N.J.

“The club was good with me in that aspect,” Bocanegra said. “Now I can fully focus on the World Cup.”

American defender Oguchi Onyewu was among 22 players selected for AC Milan’s season finale on Saturday night against Juventus and could play for the first time since injuring a knee in October.

Onyewu traveled for last Sunday’s Serie A game at Genoa but didn’t dress.

He had left knee surgery Oct. 21, seven days after tearing his patellar tendon during a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.

Onyewu joined AC Milan last summer from Belgium’s Standard Liege but played in just one of 10 competitive matches before getting hurt — he came on as a 60th-minute substitute against Zurich in the Champions League on Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, forward Eddie Johnson has been diagnosed with a strained hamstring. Johnson was hurt while playing for Aris in a Greek league playoff game against AEK Athens on Wednesday, a day after he was selected for the preliminary U.S. roster.

He will report to training camp for the start of practice Monday, U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman said.

The 26-year-old from Palm Coast, Fla., has 12 goals in 40 international appearances. He is on loan to Aris from Fulham.

World Cup teams must cut to the 23-man limit by June 1.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!