Muscle strain will keep Giovani dos Santos out of Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup

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Giovani dos Santos will not be with Mexico when El Tri takes on the United States in Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup playoff, LA Galaxy confirmed on Monday. The Mexican international was pulled from head coach Ricardo Ferretti’s team with a muscle strain, a status Ferretti revealed shortly before the Galaxy announced the withdrawal.

“Gio Dos Santos has a muscular problem and can not be with us,” Ferretti said in a Monday press conference. “We are seeing who will be available for the squad.”

Dos Santos had played 87 minutes on Sunday night in Seattle before coming off as a late-match substitute. The Galaxy’s 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field held LA reclaim first place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.

SEE MORE: Overrated/underrated: The truth about the Confederations Cup.

The 26-year-old attacker moved to the Galaxy in July from Spanish Primera Division club Villarreal. In his two seasons with the Yellow Submarine, the Barcelona product scored 12 league goals in 59 appearances. He’s since scored three goals and tallied four assists in eight games in Major League Soccer.

Dos Santos had been named to Mexico’s 23-man playoff roster despite not being part of the team in September – Ferretti’s first international break as coach. Since then, dos Santos had featured prominently in key games for the Galaxy against Dallas and Seattle, recording a goal and an assist on Sept. 27 against FC Dallas and starting along side Robbie Keane in attack versus Seattle.

Ferretti still has Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez as options at forward for Saturday’s playoff, and he didn’t eliminate the possibility of calling in an emergency replacement.

“I have confidence in all the elements because they are players of ability, and of course now unhappily Gio may not be (available) …,” Ferretti said. “I will not mention names [of replacements], because first we have to do things ethically, and talk to the teams.”

Mexico won this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup to earn a place in Saturday’s playoff against the tournament’s 2011 champions, the United States. The winner will represent the confederation at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

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