Versatile defender Heiner Mora became the latest casualty on Costa Rica’s World Cup roster.
X-rays on Tuesday showed Mora has a micro-fracture in his right heel. Officials for the Costa Rica Football Federation confirmed the news at an afternoon press conference in Santos, Brazil, where the team is preparing for the World Cup. The Ticos play their first match Saturday against Uruguay. The tournament begins Thursday with a game between Brazil and Croatia.
Mora started at right-back in the team’s final friendly, a 1-1 tie with Ireland last Friday. He performed admirably against the Irish, although a foul by Mora late in the game led to a penalty for Ireland (which Patrick Pemberton saved to keep the score even). After the match Mora felt discomfort in his right foot, and sat out the team’s practice Sunday in Costa Rica.
The Ticos flew to Brazil on Monday, and Mora tried again to practice Tuesday. The pain returned and doctors confirmed the micro-fracture, which will need at least a couple weeks to heal.
Mora is capable of playing multiple positions on defense and in the midfield, and he likely would’ve backed-up right-back Cristian Gamboa at the World Cup. However, Mora’s strong play against Ireland did have some supporters calling for the Saprissa defender to start in Brazil.
Instead Mora becomes the third Tico in the past five weeks to lose his spot in the World Cup due to injury. Starting left-back Bryan Oviedo was declared out in early May after failing to recover in time from a broken leg injury. Forward Álvaro Saborío, Costa Rica’s top scorer in qualifying, fractured his fifth metatarsal in his right foot in late May and needs three to four months to recovery from the injury.
Head coach Jorge Luis Pinto has called up Herediano’s Dave Myrie to take Mora’s roster spot.
Defensemen Michael Umaña and Junior Diaz also missed practice time Tuesday due to illness. Both should be fine for tournament as Costa Rica tries to avoid anymore bad news before the games get started.