The Galaxy and the U.S. national team, both of which have been battered by injuries this spring, got more bad news Tuesday when it was determined that midfielder Sebastian Lletget will miss four to six months to recover from an injury to his left foot.
The injury, sustained early in the U.S. team's win over Honduras in a World Cup qualifier in San Jose last week, was originally described as a strain. But after further tests the medical team of U.S. Soccer and the Galaxy, headed by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Rachel Triche, determined Lletget has a Lisfranc injury, which the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describe as a midfoot injury in which "bones are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn."
Lletget, 24, is expected to undergo surgery next week when the swelling in his foot subsides. The best-case scenario has him returning in midsummer, although he could miss the remainder of the Galaxy's regular season as well as the rest of World Cup qualifying.
Lletget was injured in his first competitive match with the national team, playing less than a mile from where he once starred as a youth with Santa Clara Sporting. Lletget scored the first goal in the fifth minute of a 6-0 U.S. rout, but 10 minutes later his left foot was stomped on by Honduran defender Ever Alvarado.
Lletget limped around for a couple of minutes before collapsing to the turf and being helped off the field. He left Avaya Stadium on crutches.
The injury is major setback for Lletget, a force in the Galaxy midfield who had finally earned an audition with the national team after spending five mostly lost years trying to crack the roster of West Ham United in the English Premier League.
"I just know that things are looking up," he said earlier this month. "It's an incredible thing. I've put in a lot of work and now I'm kind of reaping the benefits."
The news also comes as a major blow to the national team and the Galaxy.
Lletget is the sixth starter the U.S. has lost to injury this month. Galaxy teammate Jermaine Jones is expected to take his place in the lineup for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Panama, the team's last competitive match until June.
For the Galaxy, Lletget's absence will be more painful.
The team played its first three MLS games without forward Gyasi Zardes and defenders Robbie Rogers and Ashley Cole. Zardes and Cole could return for Saturday's game in Vancouver but Rogers' (nerve problems) status remains uncertain. In addition, goalkeeper Brian Rowe (shoulder) and forward Giovani dos Santos (hamstring), who missed the team's last game, just returned to training Monday and may not make the trip to Vancouver this weekend.
Ema Boateng figures to take Lletget's spot in the starting lineup against the Whitecaps.