[MY VIEW] Stuart Holden's bad luck continued as he was taken out in a nasty tackle for the second time in the space of a
year. It was an unfortunate setback for one of the few Americans to achieve success in an attacking role in midfield at a big European club.
The history of American midfielders in Europe is for them to take on or be moved into secondary roles.
That was the case of John Harkes in the early 1990s when he moved to England and played at Sheffield Wednesday.
Claudio Reyna was a playmaker for the USA but he played as a wide midfielder or defender through much of his career in Germany, Scotland and England.
John O'Brien was another playmaker, teaming up with Reyna in the U.S. midfield at the 2002 World Cup, where the Americans reached the quarterfinals, but he was used mostly at left back at Ajax.
More recently, Michael Bradley was an attacking force at Dutch club Heerenveen -- a smaller club in a lesser league -- but he is now considered a holding midfielder.
Along with Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones, Bradley gives his father, U.S. coach Bob Bradley, a plethora of holding midfielders but he few options at attacking midfielder.
But Holden, ruled out for six months with a knee injury sustained in a challenge with Manchester United's Jonny Evans on Saturday, seemed to be a different, a player like Clint Dempsey whose attacking instincts blossomed rather than regressed when he moved to Europe.
The emergence of the central midfield pairing of Holden and Frenchman Fabrice Muamba was a key factor on Bolton Wanderers' rise to the top third of the English Premier League this season.
There is nothing to say Holden can't overcome the latest obstacle in a pro career that was almost derailed before it began when he was viciously attacked outside a Newcastle nightclub. But he will have to start over for a third time.
Just as he had to basically do without Holden at the 2010 World Cup, Bob Bradley won't have Holden at the 2011 Gold Cup, and he will have to rethink his plans for the U.S. midfield that could have used Holden very nicely in the middle of the field.