Costa Rica striker Álvaro Saborío will miss World Cup with foot injury

Álvaro Saborío expected to make his second World Cup appearance for Costa Rica next month, but he will instead miss out after sustaining a foot injury on Thursday.

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Costa Rica striker Álvaro Saborío will miss the World Cup after sustaining a fifth metatarsal fracture to his right foot during a training session on Thursday morning.

Ticos boss Jorge Luis Pinto confirmed Saborío’s injury and his impending departure from the squad in an interview with a local media outlet later in the afternoon.

“Álvaro will not be at the World Cup,” Pinto told crhoy.com. “It will not be easy to replace him. … We will look to the future.”

Real Salt Lake also confirmed Saborío’s withdrawal from the squad and noted he will miss the next 3-4 months to recover from the injury, according to a club statement. RSL medical personnel consulted with their Costa Rican counterparts to determine the extent of the damage, according to a RSL spokesperson. Saborío will undergo further examination when he returns to Salt Lake City in the next few days.

Saborío, 32, featured prominently in the Ticos’ plans for the upcoming trip to Brazil after starting regularly for the side during World Cup qualifying. His absence will leave Pinto with few options to replace his robust and sturdy work as a target player ahead of the upcoming excursion to Brazil.

Pinto included 26 players in his preliminary squad for the World Cup with a further four players named on standby. He does not need to call another player into camp to replace Saborío, though Columbus striker Jairo Arrieta – one of the four players on that standby list – will hope the veteran manager opts to summon him into the squad to state his case for a place.

Saborio’s absence will increase Costa Rica’s reliance on Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruíz to function effectively and quickly on the counter. Saborio – whether used as a starter or as a substitute – supplied a different, more direct component to the Ticos’ approach play from back to front. His injury essentially removes the potential plan B and likely shifts the focus toward a more fluid attacking approach on the break.

Costa Rica must devise a potential solution before it embarks upon its difficult Group D assignment. The Ticos are slated to face Uruguay (June 14 in Fortaleza), Italy (June 20 in Recife) and England (June 24 in Belo Horizonte) next month.