Fatai Alashe is out 4-6 weeks after undergoing a successful hernia surgery. This means he will probably miss the home-and-away playoff versus Columbia in March, the winner earning the final CONCACAF spot in Rio for the 2016 Olympics. This may also put his spot on the Olympic roster (a U-23 tournament) in jeopardy come August.
However, there is a silver lining. The United States has rarely performed well in international competitions, especially the Olympics; our highest finish is fourth in 2000, and we failed to make the Olympics 2004 and 2012. The U.S. probably will not be contention for a medal, and Fatai may not see much playing time. It’s better for his development to be playing at home than not playing at all in a meaningless tournament.
A Fatai Olympic absence would also strain the Quakes lineup. Both Fatai and Marc Pelosi play the same position: defensive/controlling-mid. Pelosi will probably be called up, and a Fatai call-up would mean losing two quality defensive midfielders during August, a critical time in the season for setting up a playoff run. Can the Quakes really afford to lose two quality players at the same position for a month?
Personally, I would love to see Fatai play in Rio and demonstrate to the world the future of U.S. soccer and represent San Jose, but if he fails to make the final roster due to this injury, I won’t be terribly upset. We need him on our field playing during August, not watching from the sidelines in Rio.