Gedion Zelalem has missed Rangers fixtures to join up with the US u23 team that was hoping to turn up at the Olympics in Rio in the summer.
One problem: they haven’t qualified.
The talented midfielder who is on loan at Rangers this season was called up to the US squad to play crucial qualifiers for the Olympic games, with the promise of a strong new generation developing in the USA. Maybe that generation is the one a couple of years down the line.
The American side faced Honduras on Saturday, and dropped Zelalem from the starting line up.
U-23 Starting XI: Horvath; Okwuonu, Miazga, Carter-Vickers, Serna; Polster, Trapp, Hyndman, Gil; Kiesewetter, Morris #USAvHON
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 10, 2015
An ESPN reporter suggested that the midfielder may have had an injury, but nothing had been confirmed at the time of writing.
.@aaronstol Herzog told me on Thursday that Zelalem had a “muscle injury” and might not play.
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) October 10, 2015
Without Zelalem, the USA struggled to control the game and surprisingly lost 2-0 to Honduras.
The result leaves what had looked like probably qualification for the Olympics in huge doubt, and a huge opportunity for Zelalem to play on a massive stage could be missed.
The USA now have to play a third-place game against either Mexico or Canada on Tuesday. Should they win, they will have to beat Colombia in a play-off game. Pretty tough going.