- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 14, 2002

The U.S. national team's preparations for the World Cup suffered a major blow Sunday when defensive midfielder Chris Armas, a key cog for the Americans over the last three years, twisted his knee during the first half of the 2-1 win against Uruguay at RFK Stadium.
The worst-case scenario was confirmed after an MRI late Sunday: Armas had torn the ACL in his right knee. The injury will force him to miss the World Cup next month in Japan and South Korea.
"I'm extremely disappointed for Chris," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena. "Chris has been an outstanding performer with our team and a fine professional."
Likely replacements for Armas on the 23-man roster could include D.C. United midfielder Richie Williams, who was named an alternate for the World Cup team last month, and defender Greg Vanney.
Arena said Claudio Reyna, John O'Brien and even Tony Sanneh could play the defensive midfield role on the team.
Armas suffered the non-contact injury in the 16th minute while running down the right wing. He played another eight minutes before he was replaced by Pablo Mastroeni in the 24th minute.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Armas said. "I had just planted on my right foot and I felt the knee go. In life these things happen."
Armas, 29, played a major role in helping the Americans reach the finals, starting in 14 of 16 games during qualifying play.

United in friendly
D.C. United will play an international friendly against Diego Maradona's former club, Boca Juniors, of Argentina, on June 23.

Ramos to retire
NEWARK, N.J. Tab Ramos, considered the best U.S. soccer playmaker ever, will announce his retirement at the end of the current Major League Soccer season, a source close to the league said.
Ramos refused to confirm the report in a telephone interview. However, a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the announcement would be made today.

Jamaica picks experience
KINGSTON, Jamaica Eight players from Jamaica's 1998 World Cup roster were among 19 selected for Thursday's exhibition game against the United States at East Rutherford, N.J. Jamaica, which failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, also plays Nigeria on Saturday in London.

Dutch player out
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Dutch forward Ruud van Nistelrooy won't play in Sunday's exhibition game against the United States because of a groin injury. Dutch coach Dick Advocaat has not called up a replacement for van Nistelrooy for the game in Foxboro, Mass., the last World Cup warmup for the U.S. team, which heads to South Korea on May 23.

FIFA official blasts Blatter
BEIJING A vice president of FIFA said it's "time to think about electing a new leader" and accused incumbent president Sepp Blatter of abusing his office and mismanaging finances. Chung Mong-joon cited Swiss media reports that said the world soccer body incurred $500 million in losses during Blatter's four years as president.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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