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Bulls Abroad: Roy Miller's World Cup is over, but Costa Rica is still going

Paul Gilham

The Costa Rican Federation dropped a press release on Sunday to explain why Roy Miller didn't feature in the team's short-handed win over Greece, and won't feature in Los Ticos' World Cup quarterfinal bout with the Netherlands: he's injured.

The injury - described as a muscle strain in his left leg - occurred in training on the Friday prior to Costa Rica's second round match. It helps to explain why Miller wasn't the first man off the bench when Oscar Duarte was sent off and the defense needed to be restocked. And it explains why Miller won't be playing against the Dutch, when Duarte will be suspended.

World Cup squads have to suck up their injury problems - replacements aren't allowed after the start of the tournament - but Miller is expected to stay with Costa Rica for as long as his team's thrilling run continues.

As is the case with every match they've played to date, Los Ticos are favorites to lose their next game, though this will be the first time they've attempted to confound those expectations without Duarte, and now they are missing Miller (generally assumed to be the first man off the bench for the team's defense).

For those worried about the effect of Miller's continued absence on RBNY: those concerns are no longer contingent on Costa Rica's World Cup run.

As soon as Los Ticos qualified for the quarterfinal, Miller was guaranteed to miss the Red Bulls' next game - July 4 against Houston Dynamo - since Costa Rica's next match is July 5.

In the extraordinary event Costa Rica were to win through to the semifinals, Miller would miss RBNY's July 12 home game against Columbus Crew: semifinalists play in either the World Cup final (July 13) or the third-place playoff (July 12).

If, as expected, Costa Rica's journey ends this weekend, Miller may still miss the Crew game. Some outlets are reporting he's out for the entire tournament, which suggests the injury might not be expected to heal in time for him to take the field for any soccer team on the weekend of July 12.

Stay in Brazil as long as you can, Roy: if we can't have you back fit, let's have you back happy.