CARSON, Calif. – The concern is over.
The leg injury that threatened to leave Carlos Gruezo out of the Copa America Centenario is a thing of the past, as the FC Dallas and Ecuador national team midfielder affirmed he is ready to start the competition.
"I am 100 percent recovered,” Gruezo told MLSsoccer.com at Ecuador's afternoon practice on Thursday. “I’ve been training normally in the past two days with the rest of the group and now I’m looking forward to the game [vs. Brazil] on Saturday.”
Gruezo was a starter for Ecuador in last Wednesday’s friendly vs. the United States, but was subbed in the 60th minute due to a leg injury.
Although Ecuador head coach Gustavo Quinteros initially expressed his concerns about the player and considered replacing him on the roster, multiple test results were favorable for the young midfielder.
“That day [game vs. the US] I could barely walk, I was so afraid I suffered a serious injury,” Gruezo said. “But after two ultrasounds, the final diagnosis was a muscle spasm and I am recovered.
“I feel 100 percent recovered.”
Gruezo’s return comes in a critical moment as Quinteros is making the final adjustments to Ecuador’s starting lineup ahead of the team's opener vs. Brazil (10 pm ET, FS1, Univision, UDN), and depending on his status, it will be decided whether he’ll join Cristian Noboa in Ecuador’s central midfield.
"I do not know [if I'll start]. There are still a few days of training, but I will keep working and try to be ready. If I do start, I want to do it well. "