James Riley underwent successful surgery today to repair a left lateral meniscus tear. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bert Mandelbaum at Surgery Center of Pacific in Santa Monica. Riley is expected to begin the recovery process immediately and is expected to miss at least six months.
Riley was a surprise standout in the pre-season, and his signing went hand-in-hand with Bruce Arena allowing other young fullbacks to pursue soccer careers elsewhere. This means that now there are some tough decisions to be made on the back line.
A.J. DeLaGarza spend the whole pre-season adjusting to the right back spot, but poor performance from Leonardo forced Arena to put him back into the center. Keeping that arrangement would mean sticking with Dan Gargan for the bulk of the season, who only had eight appearances with the San Jose Earthquakes last year.
Alternatively Arena could stick any one of Leonardo, Kofi Opare, Tommy Meyer, or Kyle Venter at the center back spot. None of those players has been tested on a run as extended as six months, and Meyer surprisingly fell out of favor for all of 2013.