Center back David Mateos left the Montreal match with an apparent knee injury, which looked bad. Now we know just how severe it is. Per Alicia DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel, Mateos sustained a Grade 2 MCL tear and will miss the next four to six weeks, which puts him out for the final two Orlando City games in 2016.
What this means for the final two matches of the season is that Jason Kreis will be missing half of his preferred central defense pairing. Mateos and Jose Aja have emerged as Kreis’ favored partnership and with the exception of a couple of games, the two have played rather well together.
Mateos, the 29-year-old Spaniard, and the young Uruguayan Aja seemed to communicate well together and put in two solid outings prior to the team’s trip to play the LA Galaxy. The two were split up again due to injury or suspension before coming together again to play well in a 0-0 draw at Toronto and the 1-0 home loss to the Impact — Mateos came off with the injury prior to Montreal’s goal in the latter contest.
Kreis will most likely finish out the season with a pairing of Seb Hines and Jose Aja, although he could experiment a bit with nothing much to play for in the final two games. Tommy Redding recently played with the U.S. U-20 team in the Four Nations Cup and even served as captain for the American youth national team. Redding could get another look at center back, and Kreis could even give a look to Conor Donovan and/or Devron Garcia, although those two are less likely options given the fact they weren’t in the lineup much down the stretch for OCB.
If Mateos’ injury heals up the way an MCL tear typically does, he should be fit enough to return for the start of next season, however, with his high salary and the poor overall performance of the defense in 2016, there’s no guarantee the Spaniard will be back in 2017. If he does, at least he’ll get to play on a nice grass field in the new stadium.