Sunday night saw the final of the Gold Cup final between the United States and Panama, but the home supporters suffered a first half setback when Stuart Holden was withdrawn injured after just 23 minutes at the Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Holden’s participation at the Gold Cup had been one of the most uplifting stories of the tournament.
27-year-old Holden, a Bolton Wanderers midfielder since 2010, has unfortunately missed large chunks of the last three seasons with a pair of significant knee injuries. Overall in the past three seasons, Holden had managed to record just 34 appearances for Bolton and on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season.
But against the odds Holden has maintained his spirits to force his way back into the international setup, and the Gold Cup appeared to be cementing his second coming.
All that good will, though, looked to evapourate in the 23rd minute when Holden was forced off after an innocuous looking clash of knees with Panamanian Alberto Quintero.
Holden immediately went down after the coming-together, with the midfielder nervously holding his right knee. Eventually he was lead off the pitch by the physio, before Holden was spotted crying on the bench looking distraught.
Suggesting the injury the bad, the Americans immediately made the decision to replace Holden with Mix Diskerud.
After seeing their star so upset, an outpouring of emotion hit Twitter as American fans sent Stuart Holden their best wishes.
GIFs of Holden’s injury can be seen below, along with Tweets from well-wishers to the Bolton midfielder.
*collective gasp for Stuart Holden all across America*
— KICKTV (@KICKTV) July 28, 2013
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) July 28, 2013
Stu Holden is a rare combination of determination, optimism, and courage. Praying he does not need to draw on those virtues for a third time
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 28, 2013
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) July 28, 2013
— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) July 28, 2013
— Warren Barton (@warrenbarton2) July 28, 2013