U.S. Under-23 national team goalkeeper Cody Cropper underwent knee surgery and is expected to miss up to six weeks, putting his Olympic qualifying campaign in jeopardy.
It is unclear when Cropper, the U-23 starter, suffered the injury, but his club, Milton Keynes Dons, said that he had surgery earlier this week. Cropper played the first half of the USA U-23's 1-0 friendly loss to England last Friday.
The development puts Zack Steffen, who backstopped the U.S. in this past summer's U-20 World Cup, and Ethan Horvath, who starts for Norwegian club Molde, in position to play key minutes next month for Andi Herzog's side, which followed the England match with a 2-0 win over Qatar on Tuesday. Cropper did not play vs. Qatar, with Steffen and Horvath each playing a half.
Other goalkeepers who have played for the U-23s this year are Leeds United's Charlie Horton and and Seattle Sounders 2's Tyler Miller.
The U.S. U-23s will play against Canada, Panama and Cuba in Olympic qualifying, which begins Oct. 1 and culminates with the semifinals and finals on Oct. 10 and 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The winners of the semifinal round automatically secure berths in Rio next summer, while the winner of the third-place game will go into a playoff against Colombia for one more Olympic berth.
The U.S. is attempting to get back to the Olympic stage after famously failing to get out of the group stage in qualifying for the 2012 tournament.