Despite all the weapons this team has going forward - we're talking about guys like Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, Andy Najar, not to mention our sometimes dangerous players like Branko Boskovic and Maicon Santos - De Ro has always been the key man. He's not just the captain; he's not just tied for second in MLS with 12 assists; he's where United's swagger comes from going forward. There's plenty of skill, pace, and firepower, but the Black-and-Red's main source for ideas and bravado wears the #7 shirt.
Someone else is probably going to have to provide those things in the near future, because Kurtis Larson is reporting that De Ro was injured playing for the Canadian national team in their 2-0 loss at Panama last night. De Ro left the game after just 6 minutes, and will have an MRI when Canada gets back from Panama City. Larson, having spoken with head coach Stephen Hart, indicates that the problem is apparently with De Ro's MCL.
Getting ahead of ourselves - because really, what else does one do when the most important player on your team gets hurt right when the margin for error is getting thin? - an MCL injury can be tough to recover from quickly. While most players bounce back from a run-of-the-mill hamstring or quad strain in four weeks, many MLS players have been out for over a month with MCL problems. The issue isn't just with running, but with impact (e.g. landing from a jump, striking the ball, etc).
On the other hand, all is not lost. It was only four months ago that we saw Perry Kitchen's knee seem to buckle as he landed after going up for a header. Kitchen came out early that day, and the replay made us fear the worst. Four days later, Kitchen went 90 minutes in a 2-0 home win. It could well be that De Ro simply tweaked something, and the MRI will say "it's cool, guys" and we can all go back to living in a world where good things happen to us.
Or: The MRI will tell us that we're totally boned, at which point it's time to start freaking out.