CARSON, CA - Los Angeles Galaxy defender Chris Albright has been added to the USA's 23-man roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, replacing defender Frankie Hejduk who today was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee. Albright will join the U.S. training camp in Cary, N.C. immediately following the Galaxy's game against FC Dallas on Wednesday, May 10.
Albright, who was named to the 13-player alternate list for the World Cup during the official announcement on the May 2 edition of SportsCenter, has appeared in 19 matches for the United States. Albright replaces Hejduk, a two-time World Cup veteran, who suffered the injury during the Crew's 1-0 loss to Kansas City on April 29 in Columbus. Despite the injury, Hejduk completed the match as well as a full training session Tuesday before experiencing pain in his knee. An MRI taken this afternoon confirmed the ACL injury.
"I deeply regret having to replace Frankie Hejduk on the roster. Frankie has been a great member of the national team program for many years. Unfortunately this last minute injury has forced us to make a change," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "I'm delighted to be able to offer Chris Albright an opportunity to be a member of our team. As the case with all of our alternates, they need to be prepared in case a situation like this occurs."
Albright scored his lone goal for the United States in his debut match, a 2-2 draw against Jamaica on Sept. 8, 1999 in Kingston. Capable of playing on the right or left side of defense, he played in six final round qualifying matches in 2005, starting five. Albright posted his first career U.S. assist in 2005, setting up the game-winning goal in the United States' 2-0 qualifying win against Panama on Oct. 12 in Foxborough, Mass.
Albright started all six of the U.S. matches at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, registering two goals and an assist. The Los Angeles Galaxy defender has appeared in 149 MLS games in his eight-year career, scoring 10 goals and 16 assists. Albright won two MLS Cup titles with the Galaxy (2002 & 2005), assisting on Carlos Ruiz's game-winning goal to give the Galaxy their first title.