Josh Gatt will miss the remainder of 2013 thanks to a knee injury that will require surgery. Molde announced on Monday that Gatt would have to go under the knife, a procedure that will keep him out for the remainder of the club's season, which ends in November.
The speedy Gatt has played well enough to garner consideration from U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann. Gatt earned his first two caps in the fall and was supposed to play in this summer's Gold Cup, but his knee injury ruled him out. Despite being a very raw player, Gatt's pace brought a new dimension to the U.S. in his two caps. On a team that is sometimes devoid of width, Gatt brings that with his ability to blaze up and down the right, opening up space in the center for his teammates and thus making an impact even when his crossing failed him.
Gatt joined Molde in 2011 as one of the first signings by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he settled in immediately, scoring five goals in his first season. He added five more last season and while this season has been somewhat of a disappointment as his progress slowed, he was still a regular for the club and the subject of transfer rumors to bigger clubs.
This is not the first time Gatt has been the victim of injuries, although this is certainly the most serious one yet. Gatt's first U.S. appearance was delayed when he had to withdraw from the team last September and again in January.
The concern for Gatt is whether these injuries will ever stop long enough for him to make significant progress at the club level and for the U.S. The injury makes it unlikely that he will make the 2014 World Cup team, with the Tippeligan season picking up again next March, just two months before U.S. World Cup camp commences. That leaves him very little time to get back up to speed and impress Klinsmann.
At just 21 years old, missing the World Cup would hardly be a death sentence for Gatt's international career. He has plenty of time to make an impact with the U.S. and will be just 26 years old at the 2018 World Cup. That makes him a prime breakout candidate for the 2015 Gold Cup and the entire World Cup qualifying cycle, where he can use his blistering pace to wreak havoc on opponents, but speed doesn't mean much on the trainer's table. Gatt has to get fit and stay fit before he can get his club and international carer back on track.