Timbers lose Blanco for season
The Portland Timbers will be without Sebastian Blanco for the rest of 2020.
The club announced Tuesday that the star attacker will undergo surgery Sept. 14 for a torn ACL in his right knee. He suffered the injury in the second minute of Sunday's 2-1 win over the Sounders at Seattle when he landed awkwardly while challenging for the ball.
The club said a timetable for Blanco's return will be determined after the surgery.
One possible comparison:
In the final regular-season match of 2014, Blanco's friend and fellow Argentine Diego Valeri suffered a torn ACL. Valeri returned to action about 6 1/2 months later, though it was an additional two months before Valeri played a full 90-minute match.
Blanco was the MVP of the MLS is Back Tournament this summer, where he posted three goals and five assists. In nine regular-season matches (really eight, since he was only on the field for about a minute Sunday), Blanco has two goals and five assists.
In his fourth season with the Timbers, Blanco has 33 goals and 39 assists in 121 appearances in all competitions with the club.
But the 32-year-old (he turns 33 in March of 2021) is more than just a talented player for Portland. His competitive personality is a driving force that will be difficult to replace.
Blanco's absence will ratchet up the need for winger Yimmi Chara to have a consistent impact on the field. It also figures to mean more opportunity for 23-year-old Marvin Loria to show if he can be a consistent factor.
Others who could figure to be asked to pick up the slack include Andy Polo, Cristhian Paredes and Tomas Conechny. Another possible option for coach Giovanni Savarese — when Valeri is resting — might be to use Eryk Williamson in an attacking central midfield position.
On Twitter, Blanco expressed sadness that the injury happened when he was playing so well, but added that the support of family and Timbers fans will help him come back from the injury.
Translated from Spanish, his Tweet included:
"Nothing was ever given to me and this is one more test to overcome. I will work harder than ever and come back stronger than before!!"
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