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FC Cincinnati’s Greg Garza leaves USMNT camp with quad injury

The United States men’s national team will be down a defender when it takes the field later this month against Panama for a friendly.

Garza left camp after suffering a “low-grade quadriceps strain,” U.S. Soccer announced Thursday. His Major League Soccer club, FC Cincinnati, called the injury “minor” and said he will undergo treatment for the injury at its facilities.

New U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter will not replace Garza on the roster and will head into friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica with 27 players.

Garza, 27, will return to Cincinnati and join the club for its preseason camp as it prepares for its first MLS season. Garza had been with the national team since Jan. 6. Cincinnati will open camp Jan. 21.

Cincinnati traded for Garza last month, just days after he won the MLS Cup with Atlanta United. Garza started at left wingback in all five of Atlanta’s postseason matches.

Garza played in just 11 regular season MLS games last season, missing more than four months of playing time as he recovered from surgery to repair his right shoulder. Over his professional career — which has spanned from Portugal to Mexico to the U.S. — Garza has also battled hip and groin injuries.

In 2017, his first season in MLS with Atlanta after arriving from Liga MX’s Club Tijuana, Garza was an All-Star and notched two goals and five assists in 26 appearances. Last season, he had one goal and three assists in his limited time on the pitch.

To acquire Garza, Cincinnati sent $450,000 in allocation money to Atlanta. Cincinnati will begin its first MLS season on March 2, facing the Sounders in Seattle.

Heading into its friendly vs. Panama on Jan. 27 in Glendale, Ariz., the U.S. has four other fullbacks on its roster in Reggie Cannon, Nick Lima, Daniel Lovitz and Keegan Rosenberry.

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