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U.S. Men's National Team

Fabian Johnson leaves Europa League match with apparent hamstring injury

Bad news for U.S. Men’s National Team fans, as one of the team’s best players appears to have picked up a injury ahead of World Cup qualifiers.

USMNT midfielder/defender Fabian Johnson was forced to leave Borussia Monchengladbach’s UEFA Europa League match against Schalke 04 on Thursday, as he pulled up with an apparent right hamstring injury. Just 16 minutes into the match, Johnson went down and was unable to continue as he was replaced by Jonas Hoffman in the second leg of the round of 16 match.

The news comes at a bad time for the USMNT and head coach Bruce Arena ahead of a pair of crucial World Cup qualifying matches against Honduras and Panama. Johnson had just been named as part of Arena’s 24-man roster and was widely expected to feature heavily in the midfield during the two matches. While the injury appeared to not be terribly severe, along the lines of a strain, it could be enough to keep Johnson out of contention or force him to be replaced on the roster.

The news also opens up possibilites for other players on the roster. Darlington Nagbe and Sebastian Lletget could both benefit from Johnson’s absence, as they figure to be next in line on the left side of the midfield. Still, the news is bad for one of the USNMT, as they lose one of their most prolific players.

Johnson has been crucial for Monchengladbach this season, providing a significant attacking threat as the team has otherwise struggled in Bundesliga play of late.

The USMNT faces Honduras on March 24 in San Jose, California before traveling to Panama for a qualifier on March 28.

The USMNT is currently in last place in the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying after suffering losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to start the qualifying round.

20 comments
  • Johnnyrazor

    Who replaces him on the roster could say a lot about what type of formation Bruce is intending to play. Seeming less likely to have 3 man backline without FJ, Yedlin, and Timmy.

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    • Gary Page

      I doubt that Arena has ever played a 3 man backline, so this is irrelevant. Since Arena was apparently going to play him in midfield and we have a lot of good midfielders, this isn’t as bad as it first appears, IMO.

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      • GH

        Agreed. If the plan was to play him at LB then this would have been a bigger deal. Big loss still, but I think Nagbe gets plugged in at LM and finally gets a shot to justify the hype. Probably add another winger

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      • Johnnyrazor

        Bruce also mentioned it as a possibility, but that might just have been misinformation for his opponents.

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    • Lost in Space

      My recommendation for a replacement would be either Green or Arriola. Both are playing consistently now and can provide depth at the wide midfielder positions.

      Seriously doubt Bruce was thinking of playing a 3 man back-line in either of the upcoming games. He bashed JK for trying it in the game against Mexico, and without any of the first (or even 2nd) choice outside backs available I can’t see him trying anything like a 3 man back-line

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  • Benjamin C.

    I’m guessing you would replace him with Arriola or Green if he is out for the qualifiers?

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    • Johnnyrazor

      Or it could be Sacha, Benny, or Hyndman and push CP to the wing if Bruce really was going to play him inside as he suggested yesterday.

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    • r.benjamin

      Yea. This isn’t good. Losing our truest quality veteran and Yedlins speed makes this team more ordinary.. and less likely to break down these teams

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    • Old School

      Guzan has, arguably, been “out” for the past 24 months along with the rest of our goalkeepers for the national team.

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  • bizzy

    I think we can still pull it off with something like

    ——————Bobby Wood——————–

    Pulisic————–Nagbe—————Lletget (Nagbe or Dempsey)

    ———–Bradley———–McCarthy———- (or Acosta)

    Villafana—–brooks——Gonzo——Orozco

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    • Johnnyrazor

      You might be right, I don’t see Dempsey playing as a wing, just to much defensive work to do from that spot. I still think we see two up top, with Jozy and Wood to start. Would like to see Acosta over Dax in your scenario with his current form.

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    • Old School

      I think Dempsey plays centrally in that formation you provided.

      Also, never thrilled to see Bradley slotted in but completely accepting of the fact that no one has grabbed his position that isn’t on firm ground.

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  • LouisZ

    If Dempsey plays forget about pressing whatsoever. I see Pulisic going left and Bedoya taking right.

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  • Concorde

    Hard to replace his combination of skill speed and experience (minimum requisites of a top international player).. The painful truth that the US doesn’t produce enough quality in depth. Only one other player, Pulisic, is currently playing at the highest level of the sport.

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  • Beto

    Call in Arriola!!! Only 22 players on the roster for the Honduras match. No reason why Paul Arriola should not be in the group. Better than Bedoya, Nagbe atm and younger

    Like

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