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Weston McKennie suffered foot fracture in UCL, will rule him out for March USMNT qualifiers (Updated)

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Weston McKennie was in the midst of another impressive UEFA Champions League performance on Tuesday when a painful injury left him unable to walk under his own power, and now McKennie will be sidelined ahead of some of the most important matches of the year for both club and country.

McKennie went down in agony after a challenge from Pervis Estupinan in the 80th minute of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League clash between Juventus and Villarreal, leaving the U.S. Men’s national team midfielder needing assistant to make his way back to the bench.

Juventus has confirmed the initial fears, that McKennie has suffered a broken foot. The Serie A giants confirmed on Wednesday that scans uncovered a pair of fractured metatarsals, an injury that will rule him out of the USMNT’s decisive World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica in March, and could cost him a large chunk of the remainder of Juventus’ season. The club has set an initial recovery period at eight weeks.

McKennie has been one of the USMNT’s best performers during World Cup qualifying, featuring in seven of the team’s 11 Octagonal qualifiers to date. He was SBI’s USMNT Man of the Match in their most recent qualifier, a 3-0 win over Honduras on February 2.

Now the USMNT must attempt to clinch its berth in the 2022 World Cup without the team’s most consistent and arguably best performer, which will force USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter to look to other central midfield options, including Kellyn Acosta, Gianluca Busio and Luca De La Torre to potentially partner with Yunus Musah and Tyler Adams in the American midfield.

The injury will also put a halt to what had been an impressive club season for McKennie at Juventus. The reigning Serie A champions were primed for a strong second half of the season after the January acquisitions of Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria, but the Bianconeri will now be without McKennie as they attempt to make a deep run in Champions League as well as try to win another Coppa Italia and secure a top-four finish in Serie A.

The reported broken foot would mark the first major injury for the normally-durable McKennie since January 2018, when he suffered a partially-torn MCL while he was playing for Schalke in the German Bundesliga.

Comments

  1. this is the flaw in the US “star system” and why you really need to develop about 2-3 layers deep of players at each position, who earn their place on performance and not just the coach likes them in theory. i would move pulisic or aaronson over before i would bet the ranch on some of GB’s midfield specialist scrubs.

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  2. It’s a challenge to lose Weston, but also an opportunity, not just for the players that take his place, but for the team as a whole. This is a chance to advance the cause in the face of adversity. If this team fights, we are going to make the World Cup

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    • At the very least, it means more opportunities for Luca de la Torre and probably means, if he ever gets healthy for a minute, that Gio Reyna will be playing centrally. Those are not bad things. Everybody likes to make much of the “MMA midfield” because it sounds snazzy but IMHO I think De La Torre and Gio Reyna are natural 10’s while I think Musah is a natural 8 like McKennie and they take up the same space on the field…and yes, I know Gregg likes to play dual-8’s but I think forcing Gregg to play natural 10’s alongside 8’s simply because he doesn’t have a ton of 8’s anymore will drive that point home to him this next cycle.

      If you’re asking me, I’d bring six central midfielders to Qatar – Reyna and de la Torre as our two 10’s, McKennie and Musah as our 8’s, and Tyler Adams and probably Kellyn Acosta as our 6’s. And I would personally not be playing McKennie and Musah alongside one another but instead allowing them to share the spot since in a 3-game group stage you’re going to ideally get as close to 150 minutes out of one guy and 120 out of the other if you want them to have legs beyond the Group Stage. So you really do need two quality guys at each spot.

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  3. While I hate to hear of one of our players getting injured, the possible loss of McKennie against Mexico (@ the Azteca) is a real blow to the USMNT.
    Against Panama & Costa Rica I think we could cover his absence with Musah, Busio, & Luca DLT….but I’m fairly certain that Gregg will use this injury to give another call for Lletget & Roldan.

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    • LOS ,

      You just listed three guys, Musah, Busio, and LDLT , who possibly could, for a game or two, do a reasonable , if imperfect, impersonation of Weston, technically speaking.

      But someone, I ‘m not sure who, is going to have to replace his intangibles.

      They’ll miss his fighting sprit, his aggression, his confidence, his relentlessness.

      It’s possible one or two players could step up. They better call in Hoppe, Yedlin and Acosta because they are the only other guys with what they used to call piss and vinegar in them.

      Lletget and Roldan have had PLENTY of time to show that they have some of whatever it is that makes Weston the USMNT leader that he has become.

      Obviously, they’ve been vaccinated against whatever it is Weston has and calling them in is a waste of time.

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      • While I agree with you on Lletget & Roldan….Gregg does not see things that way. They’re some of his favorites and given any excuse he’ll call them up.

        The intangibles are exactly why McKennie will be sorely missed against Mexico if he is truly sidelined with a broken foot.
        What we’ll miss most are the intangibles in the center of the pitch, as most of the others likely to fill in for him this window do not embody all 3 of the attributes mentioned.
        The passion and physicality he plays with will not be replaced by any single player. I look to Adams to provide a measure of the relentlessness and aggression. Yedlin could also contribute to these portion of the game. I’m hoping that Pulisic & Weah will be in form and provide confidence to the team.

      • I think unlikely we see someone new given the short window and lack of training time. However, the idea that Lleget and Roldan are Gregg favorites is overblown. Lleget hasn’t played once in the last 7 matches, hasn’t even dressed for 4 of them. Roldan has played 75 minutes during qualifying. In last 3 windows he’s played 28 minutes over those 8 matches. Since Panama they’ve played 6 minutes in qualifying all by Roldan against Honduras in a match that was long over when he entered.

      • JRazor

        “However, the idea that Lleget and Roldan are Gregg favorites is overblown.”

        Any player who is called up should be able to contribute significantly if needed, however unlikely or infrequent that need may be.

        We know what those two have to offer and it’s not good enough. They are a waste of space and opportunity.

        If , instead of them , you called in Tessman and Busio for example they might be just as bad or just as good.

        But at this point we don’t know. They might turn out to be a big upgrade.

        At this point Lletget and Roldan are this manager’s comfort food and little else. That is not a valid reason to call them in.

        I dislike the idea that it’s okay to have an inadequate parachute on a plane because chances are you won’t need it.

  4. what a BS punk challenge, just throws both feet while diving in after getting beat. tired of getting punked so acted like one, Estupinan

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