Kansas City Wizards striker Zoltan will miss the next five to eight months after tearing his right ACL in an exhibition match against AC St. Louis on Saturday.
The Hungarian forward had an MRI on his knee on Monday, confirming the tear. He will have surgery on Friday.
Zoltan, 30, scored a goal in the 31st minute against St. Louis to give the Wizards a 1-0 lead before coming off the field on a stretcher in the 57th minute. Over the phone after the game, Kansas City manager Peter Vermes was hopeful that it wouldn’t be as serious as he originally feared, but the scan confirmed the worst.
“It’s a heartbreaker because the guy works so hard,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s such a professional. He comes every day, and, no matter what the situation is, he is here to work and get the job done.”
Vermes said Kansas City would miss Zoltan’s presence off the bench and the unique attributes he brought to the squad. Signed in July 2009, the forward made eight substitute appearances last season and also earned two starts in limited time, scoring twice.
Even more frustrating for both the player and the team is the fact that Zoltan was performing so well before being forced off after incidental contact.
“He was playing fantastic,” Vermes said. “The way he fit in with the group. His connection to the rest of the team was excellent.”
Zoltan will go on the short-term injury replacement list, meaning his season isn’t altogether lost and the Wizards will be able to sign another international player in the meantime. Indian striker Sunil Chhetri is likely to fill that void.
Vermes said the earliest he would expect Zoltan to be back is late August or early September, depending on how the striker responds to rehab. Dr. Scott Luallin will perform the procedure.
“He was in today, already working before he gets the surgery on Friday,” Vermes said. “I have no doubt in his commitment to get better.”