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.