Andy Najar, the former D.C. United star thriving with Anderlecht and the Honduran national team, will undergo surgery this week after suffering an ACL knee injury during a Belgian match Sunday in Brussels. He is expected to miss six months, ending his chances of playing in a second Olympics and ruining a possible move to a bigger club in Europe this summer.
“These are the moments where we need to be strong,” said Najar, who attended Edison High School in Alexandria, Va., before signing a homegrown contract with United in March 2010.
Najar, 23, was hurt in the 14th minute of the 1-0 home victory over Club Brugge.
“Hopefully Andy is recovering well from this knee injury and knows he has the support of all the people of Honduras,” Honduran federation president Jorge Salomon said.
Despite selling Najar three years ago to Anderlecht, United still has financial ties to the defender: As part of the original deal, the MLS club would collect a sell-on fee, a percentage of any future transfer.
It was not a good weekend for MLS referees. Aside from Baldomero Toledo’s messy, maddening and mystifying performance in the Orlando City-New England match Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch reports the league had to rescind a red card erroneously given by Ted Unkel to Crew defender Michael Parkhurst. (He should’ve sent off Tyson Wahl.)
The National Women’s Soccer League had an encouraging opening weekend at the ticket window, averaging 7,820 fans.
Portland, as usual, led the way with 16,073 at Providence Park for a 2-1 victory over Orlando.
Kansas City: 8,022.
Orlando is expecting a large crowd at the Citrus Bowl for its inaugural home match this Saturday. Chicago (Toyota Park), New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC (Rutgers), and Boston (Harvard) will also play their first home games this weekend.
Last year, the NWSL averaged about 5,000 per game.
Last week, I wrote about former U.S. international John Harkes, a Hall of Famer who is coaching FC Cincinnati, an expansion team in the third-division USL. For its home debut April 9, the club drew more than 14,000 fans. On Saturday, the largest regular season turnout in USL history — 20,497 at Nippert Stadium — watched FCC fall to Louisville City, 3-2.
“The crowd was absolutely incredible,” Harkes said. “The fans and the families that are here clearly shows that Cincinnati is easily ready for this market for soccer. The numbers that turned out tonight they make a huge difference and I hope they can sustain it.”