The team policy violation that led to Weston McKennie being suspended for the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup qualifier against Canada on Sunday will now cost him two qualifiers, after the Juventus midfielder was sent back to Italy on Monday.
McKennie will miss Wednesday’s qualifier at Honduras, with USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter sending the midfielder home and replacing him with Jackson Yueill.
“Weston will return to Italy and will be unavailable for the match against Honduras due to a violation of team policy,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a team-issued statement. “There are high expectations for those who are a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and in order to be successful it’s important that everyone in the group is accountable.”
U.S. Soccer also announced that Sergiño Dest will miss the match with an ankle injury suffered in the 44th minute of Sunday’s draw with Canada. Dest may have been a long shot to start against Honduras even if healthy given he started the first two September qualifiers, but he now joins Gio Reyna (hamstring injury), McKennie and Zack Steffen (COVID-19) among the players ruled out for Wednesday’s trip to Honduras.
The Yueill inclusion comes as a surprise after his lackluster performances in the summer, but with Kellyn Acosta expected to be needed in a more advanced midfield role, and potentially at right back, Yueill will step in to provide cover behind Tyler Adams in the defensive midfield role.
The USMNT has called in no other roster replacements, which is a surprise, particularly in the attack, where the team was already missing Tim Weah, who was on the initial pre-camp roster and never replaced after being injured with Lille, and will now be without Reyna.
The USMNT is sitting on two points from its first two matches of the Octagonal Round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying, and will take on a Honduras side that also has two points from its first two matches, though Honduras began the Octagonal with road matches against Canada and El Salvador, making Wednesday the Octagonal home opener for the Catrachos.
What do you think of this development? Think it was the right call to send McKennie home? Shocked that Berhalter called in no attacking replacements? Think the USMNT can rebound and pull off the win in Honduras?
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