Baltimore Blast midfielder Mark Mettrick, off to the best start ,, of his three-year Major Soccer League career, will miss tonight's and tomorrow night's games against the Cleveland Crunch because of a strained groin.
Mettrick will be replaced on the 15-man roster by rookie midfielder Chris Simon, who will make his Major Soccer League debut tonight when the Blast meets the Crunch at 8:05 at Richfield Coliseum.
Mettrick (eight goals, five assists in 11 games) missed all four Blast practices this week, and coach Kenny Cooper decided yesterday to hold him out of the Crunch games.
"It's sickening," said Mettrick. "Dr. Neal [Bill, his therapist] said it might take a couple of weeks before it's completely healed. But I hope it's better by Tuesday."
On Tuesday, Mettrick is expected to play with the Blast against Oldham Athletic in Manchester, England, just 15 minutes from his Glossup home. The one-game challenge match marks the first time that a Major Soccer League team has played an indoor game outside of North America.
Mettrick said he "popped the groin" in the third quarter of the Blast's 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Storm Friday.
* Opponent: Cleveland Crunch
Site: Richfield (Ohio) Coliseum, 8:05 p.m.
Radio: WCAO (600 AM)
Outlook: The Crunch (5-7) did the Blast a favor Tuesday night in the Eastern Division standings, defeating the first-place Kansas City Comets, 11-4, and enabling second-place Baltimore (6-5) to move to within three games of Kansas City (9-2). The victory took a little heat off Crunch player-coach Kai Haaskivi, whose team is off to another slow start this season. MF Haaskivi had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Nov. 2 and is still out. GK P.J. Johns (spinal meningitis) is out for two weeks. F David Hoggan (bruised right heel) is questionable. For Baltimore, MF Mark Mettrick (strained groin) is out.