American Exports: Edgar Castillo has broken bones in face, in doubt for World Cup quals

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Club Tijuana’s Edgar Castillo could miss the US national team’s pair of World Cup qualifiers later this month after sustaining broken bones in his face on Saturday.

The speedy left back suffered the injury in the 18th minute of his team’s 1-0 loss at Atlas when he collided with Zorros captain Leandro Cufré, who appeared to shoulder-barge into him. The 26-year-old stayed down inside the penalty area for some time, but ended up going the full 90 in the loss.

Turns out he probably should have come out. Castillo suffered a triple fracture in his face on the play, and underwent surgery on Monday, Club Tijuana announced. He is expected to be out for 30 days.

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Castillo has been in exceptional form for Xolos in recent weeks, especially in Tijuana's undefeated start in the Copa Libertadores. They have a huge Libertadores clash at home with defending champions Corinthians on Wednesday.

While the prognosis isn’t good for Castillo's chances of making the US national team games against Costa Rica in Denver on March 22 and at Mexico four days later at Estadio Azteca, there is the possibility of him using protective headgear and returning sooner than expected.

The Las Cruces, N.M., native was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann for the US squad that traveled to Honduras last month, but did not feature in the 2-1 defeat in the CONCACAF Hexagonal opener.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.