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Tim Weah set to miss USMNT World Cup qualifiers with thigh injury

When Christian Pulisic was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, one of the leading names expected to step in to replace him for the U.S. men’s national team if necessary was Tim Weah, but now it appears the Lille winger won’t be available for the September World Cup qualifiers at all.

Weah missed Lille’s 2-1 win vs. Montpellier on Sunday with what Lille manager Jocelyn Gourvennec described as an injury that will sideline for several weeks.

It is unclear whether Gregg Berhalter will call in a replacement for Weah, though the USMNT coach stated on Thursday that part of the reason he called in a 26-player squad for the team’s upcoming training camp was to help cover for potential injury and illness absences.

Weah’s injury would seem to increase the chances that we see Konrad De La Fuente have an opportunity to start, especially if Pulisic winds up having to miss the El Salvador match on Thursday due to any delays in his recovery from COVID-19.

Berhalter could also turn to Brenden Aaronson given the Red Bull Salzburg midfielder’s outstanding form, and the fact Berhalter has used him almost exclusively as a winger for the USMNT, but Aaronson would also have to be considered a candidate to start in central midfield given the fact he has been playing in a central role for Salzburg this season.

As far as players Berhalter could call in as replacements, Nicholas Gioacchini and Matthew Hoppe both played in wide roles during the Gold Cup. In terms of other options on the current roster, Cristian Roldan also has experience playing on the wing for the USMNT, as does Sebastian Lletget.

The winger position had already taken a hit with the recent hamstring injury suffered by Paul Arriola, further weakening a position that is already light on natural options.

The good news for the USMNT is that Pulisic arrived in Nashville for training camp on Sunday, which bodes well for his expected availability for the team’s home qualifier against Canada on September 5, but he may not travel for the El Salvador match if Berhalter determines it is better to save him after he will have gone two weeks without playing and 10 days without training as part of COVID-19 protocols.

Gio Reyna will be expected to start on the right wing, as he did during the Concacaf Nations League finals in June, leaving the left wing to be manned either by Aaronson or De La Fuente.

The Americans take on El Salvador in their opening World Cup qualifier on Thursday in San Salvador (10:05 p.m., CBS Sports Network/Paramount+/Universo).


What do you think of this development? Who would you start on the wing for the USMNT against El Salvador if Pulisic and Weah are out? Which of the potential replacement options would you like to see called in?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. amusing listening to the people who clowned on me for wanting ummer experiments propose more quali experiments. geez. you know these games really count, right? so, cutting the crap, within this roster and concept, i think dest could play high, as could yedlin. they are mids posing as backs, who can run and create. mckennie might be an interesting swiss army knife RF if we had more than 2 mids rostered. sargent could maybe play wide or you could mirror konrad across. you could call in moore who loves getting forward, or hoppe. i expect something like roldan. sargent is double booked.

    i don’t understand why this wasn’t closer to 28-30. are we planning ahead or are we planning ahead.

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  2. What a pity that Weah is hurt….this is why we will always need depth…people get hurt and always at the wrong time….at least this cycle we have depth…last cycle we had none…..

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  3. I wouldn’t be upset with Cowell, if Covid restrictions would keep Euro based players from joining (Green or Luca would be my first and second choice). I’d rather have Caden Clark from MLS, who hasn’t been great since his appendectomy but he could provide cover as a CM as well as wing. I think we’ll see how much gap there is between Cowell and Hoppe or Konrad in terms of technical ability but his athleticism would be useful against Honduras or El Salvador. Since no one was announced today I don’t think we’ll see anyone added for ES but maybe for Canada.

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  4. Based on the video the USMNT posted on Twitter, Pulisic was training with the squad. I doubt he’d be out there if he was still in protocol.

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  5. I am going to have to agree with cowell. The kid is gifted and will be a part of this team. Call him in and see if he can hold his own.

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  6. A troublesome thing is that Ida will be hitting Nashville Monday evening through Tuesday evening. That may disrupt players arriving on time and outdoor training on Tuesday. At least the travel to ElSalvador on Wednesday should be OK.

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  7. Gregg should call in Cade Cowell, and get him capped.

    Yes I know Cowell is of that age he could still technically switch to Mexico in three years. But Gregg’s got a window here and should avail himself of it. Now would be the time to begin to get the kid integrated in, if no other reason than demonstrating he’s probably in our long-term plans even if you know he’s not quite ready yet (and no, I don’t think he is.)

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    • If you don’t think Cowell is ready, then why are you advocating playing him in a World Cup qualifier? Cap-tying (even semi-cap-tying like this)is not what qualifiers are for.

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      • It is when the player has the upside Cowell does.

        Cowell’s got CRAZY upside; the kid is so athletic it’s spooky and you want to fast-track him and get him in the shop window for Euro teams, not let him marinate. Also, the kid’s a burner and those guys seldom last until they’re 30; look at DeAndre Yedlin, who has slowed down notably and he’s not even 28.

        You wanna do everything fast with Cowell. His career arc is going to be: burn bright and fast…and burn out fast.

        We need to get him tracked and use him ASAP. Patience is not going to be a virtue with this kid. By the time he’s 20 if we’ve tracked him right the kid is going to be playing his best soccer.

    • There is absolutely no rush to bring in Cade Cowell, and I think it’s crazy if management feels pressure to cap tie players because they feel said players could end up playing for another country! Players, regardless of age, need to earn playing for the National Team because caps mean something and shouldn’t be given away to appease someone’s feelings. What Ochoa did really irks me, he accepted a callup for Nations League, got a medal out of it that could have gone to a player that is truly invested in the US set up and would be willing to give anything to represent the country, that didn’t happen so it’s water under the bridge now. Cade Cowell was brought in during the group stage of the Gold Cup when we had injuries to Arriola, so Greg has seen him up close and I’m sure the boys treated him with open arms to make him feel apart of the group, no need to rush things for important WCQers

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      • Cowell’s connection to Mexico is through his grandmother. Cowell doesn’t even speak Spanish. He is not going anywhere but USA.

  8. It seems at times like the USMNT has an injury curse. Although he’s not a winger,I wish he would take the opportunity to bring in Green. Lletget played on the wing for the Galaxy for a couple of years and scored 8 goals one year.

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    • Green’s played as a winger with the USMNT previously so that could be an option. Especially since we all know Gregg will probably have Aaronson on the wing so he can start Lletget at the CM position, even though Aaronson plays exceptionally well centrally for his club.

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    • this is why you stack positions a few deep with proven performers rather than hand a couple favorites all the minutes to make meritocratic points and chase friendly results. and the irony is to find more performers for now you have to experiment more earlier.

      and to be blunt right now is when you eat your pride and call the next RF on the list, rather than stubbornly pretend we have all we need. you’re down to 25 for 3 games in around a week. you have 5 mids and not enough wings. fix it now. i really don’t want to see roldan every game so he can act like this was all sorted out ahead of time.

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