09/13/2012 10:46 EDT | Updated 11/13/2012 05:12 EST

Big loss for Canada: De Rosario will miss next month's qualifying games

WASHINGTON - Canada will be without its leading goalscorer for the remainder of its second round of World Cup qualifying.

Dwayne De Rosario suffered an MCL sprain in his knee during Canada's 2-0 loss to Panama on Tuesday. He will be sidelined for 10-to-12 weeks according to D.C. United, his Major League Soccer club.

"DeRo is our captain, a great player and impossible to replace," said D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen.

The attacking midfielder scored in Canada's 1-0 victory over Panama last Friday in Toronto. The goal was his 20th in 71 appearances for Canada and made him the country's all-time men's scoring leader.

"Absolutely gutted, to be honest," De Rosario tweeted. "With strong faith and perseverance I will be back wearing proudly the red&white."

The loss is bad news for a Canadian side that dropped to third in its qualifying group with its loss to Panama. Panama leads the group, Honduras is second, and Canada is third based on goal differential.

"Dwayne is an inspirational player and has played a major role in the national team's qualification campaign,"Canadian coach Stephen Hart said in a statement.

"Injury is an unfortunate part of football and yes he will be missed. Dwayne's misfortune will open the door for one of the more than capable players to step in and seize the moment."

The Canadians need to finish top two to move on to the final round. They host Cuba on Oct. 12 then visit Honduras four days later to wrap up the second round.