SAN JOSE -- The Earthquakes suffered a late-season blow Monday when learning newly acquired midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy will be lost for the year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Ballouchy, 29, will undergo surgery this week, a team spokesman said.
The right-side midfielder suffered the injury Saturday night against FC Dallas when awkwardly kicking at a ball in the 51st minute. He landed hard on the field tearing the ligament.
"The news was very disappointing," Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said in a statement. "Mehdi was just settling in with our squad and was playing very well for us. He'll be missed, but we know that he'll be back stronger than ever next season."
Ballouchy, who came to San Jose at the end of July in a trade with the New York Red Bulls, was brought in to boost the midfield flanks for a playoff run. His presence immediately will be missed in the Quakes' final three regular-season games starting Saturday at Colorado.
Starting winger Marvin Chavez is sidelined with a left hamstring muscle strain and left-side midfielder Simon Dawkins is nursing an ankle sprain. Another speedy wing, Shea Salinas, returned last weekend for the first time in six games because of a hamstring strain.
Ballouchy, the MLS' second overall draft pick in 2006 out of Santa Clara, said after the game Saturday that he hoped he would be OK. The 5-foot-11 Moroccan who attended Palo Alto-Gunn High started the past four
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