Masato Kudo - Vancouver Whitecaps - towel covering mouth - collision aftermath
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Vancouver Whitecaps' Masato Kudo suffers broken jaw, to undergo surgery

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Masato Kudo suffered a fractured jaw in the club’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night and will undergo surgery, the club announced on Thursday.

There is currently no timetable for his return.

Kudo was injured in the 11th minute of Wednesday’s match. Vancouver midfielder Matias Laba played a long ball over the top of Chicago’s defense and into the area, with Kudo and onrushing Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson colliding violently near the top of the box.

Players and trainers from both teams assisted Kudo, who was left bloodied after biting his lip and tongue on the play. Chicago defender Joao Meira and midfielder Razvan Cocis each helped the Japanese striker, with Meira flipping him over and Cocis inserting his hand into his mouth to prevent him from swallowing his tongue.

“I think Joao turned him over. It was a smart move because he had blood in his mouth,” Cocis said after the match. “When I got there, I tried to put my finger in his mouth to take his tongue out so he doesn’t swallow it. His mouth was stuck. I forced him to open it and tried to keep his tongue out and then everybody came.”

Players from both teams tweeted their support for Kudo after the match, while Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson went directly from BC Place to Vancouver General Hospital to check on the 26-year-old.

Kudo was signed by Vancouver in December after seven years with Japanese club Hitachi Kashiwa Reysol. He has one goal and one assist in eight appearances for the Whitecaps this year, with both his strike and his helper coming in Vancouver’s 2-1 win against Portland last Saturday.

The Whitecaps will take on Canadian rival Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday (7:30 pm ET; TSN4 and RDS in Canada; MLS LIVE in the US). 

Michael McColl contributed reporting to this article.

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