Aaron Long was slated to be a regular on the USMNT during World Cup qualifying. (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
The worst possible scenario for Aaron Long was confirmed by the Red Bulls Tuesday morning.
The U.S. men’s national team and standout Red Bulls center back has been lost for the season due to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. That meant the 28-year-old Long won’t be able to play for the USMNT when World Cup qualifying kicks off for Qatar 2022 this fall.
Long underwent what the team terms “successful surgery” to repair the tendon with team doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery Monday afternoon.
He suffered the injury during the 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union Saturday.
On Monday night, Kristian Dyer of www.MLSMultiplex.com that Long had suffered the injury and couldn’t to play for the rest of the season.
Long is considered one of the best center backs in the league because of his speed and ability to win aerial duels.
In 2018, he was named the MLS defender of the year and early MLS Best XI recognition as well.
Since being called up to the USMNT in 2018, Long has made 21 appearances and has been considered as a probably regular on the team.
Long’s steady performances have drawn interest from several European clubs, but the Red Bulls’ asking price reportedly has been too high. That is unfortunate because a player of Long’s caliber and ability should be allowed to challenge himself overseas.
If he still has any designs of playing in Europe, he will have to wait at least year. Given his age, it could turn into a lost opportunity.