"That's a big blow for him and the club," Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbesaid. "We had closed this hole in our defense."
The news came less than two weeks before the USA will assemble to prepare for qualifiers against Costa Rica on Sept. 1 and at Honduras four days later.
Brooks, whose $22.4 million move to Wolfsburg from Hertha Berlin set a record for the highest transfer ever by an American, started the two home games after Bruce Arena took over as head coach, both shutout wins (6-0 over Honduras and 2-0 over Trinidad & Tobago).
Brooks' latest injury alone should not be a crisis. He missed all six qualifiers during the Concacaf semifinal round and the two road games in March and June. Tim Ream, who made the EFL team of the week at Fulham, filled in for Brooks at Panama and Mexico (when Arena went with three in the action) and the USA got results in both games.
USA's Hexagonal CB combinations:
USA-Mexico (1-2): Gonzalez-Brooks-Besler
Costa Rica-USA (4-0): Gonzalez-Brooks
USA-Honduras (6-0): Gonzalez-Brooks
Panama-USA (1-1): Gonzalez-Ream
USA-Trin. & Tob. (2-0): Cameron-Brooks
Mexico-USA (1-1): Gonzalez-Cameron-Ream
Arena's dilemma. The concern for Arena will be that other defenders will be unavailable, limiting his ability to rotate players against Costa Rica and Honduras, like he did against T&T and Mexico, or go with five in the back again on the road.
The game in Mexico City presented unique challenges -- one less day of rest and altitude -- but playing in San Pedro Sula in the afternoon heat is not piece of cake, especially for the European-based players with only a few competitive games in the their legs. One of the worst performances of the Jurgen Klinsmann era was the 2-1 loss in SPS to open the 2013 Hexagonal.
The USA is in good shape to finish in the top three in the current Hexagonal if it sweeps its final two home games against Costa Rica and Panama. The USA will know a lot more about its situation after the Catrachos play at T&T the same day as it hosts Costa Rica. But the big thing the USA will likely need to avoid on the road against Honduras is not a defeat -- but a heavy defeat that would eat away at its 11-goal advantage in goal difference over Honduras.
USA's Hexagonal scenarios:
USA vs. PAN: USA > CRC & PAN, MEX > PAN ... USA beats out PAN.
USA vs. HON: USA > CRC & PAN ... USA beats out PAN unless HON takes 10 of 12 points.
Also sidelined. Right back DeAndre Yedlin was back on the practice field, rehabbing at Newcastle United on Wednesday, but he missed the Magpies' first game since they returned to the EPL. Omar Gonzalez, the only centerback who has played more than Brooks in the Hexagonal, left Pachuca's Copa MX game in the first half a week ago and has not dressed since then.
Yedlin, one of only four players to start both June qualifiers, would be harder to replace than Gonzalez. At center back, Arena also has used Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler (in the Gold Cup) and Ream. But they'll all need to get through the next two weekends without injuries.