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Miles Robinson using World Cup absence as motivation with USMNT


Miles Robinson is back with the U.S. men’s national team close to one year after earning his last cap for his country, and after overcoming a serious Achilles injury for majority of 2022, the Atlanta United defender is ready to pick up where he left off.

Robinson was called into the USMNT’s March camp ahead of its final Concacaf Nations League group stage matches against Grenada and El Salvador. The 26-year-old was forced to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Atlanta due to his long-term injury, which ruled him out of all but 10 matches for the Five Stripes last year.

Robinson is back to full fitness for both Atlanta United and the USMNT, but still uses his time on the sidelines as motivation to avoid any future spells there in 2023.

“I watched most of the World Cup from my couch with my family,” Robinson said Tuesday to reporters. It was definitely tough at some moments, more mentally than physically,” he said of his recovery. “The first few months, when you can’t really walk, is definitely tough.

“Then towards the end when I could get out on the field,” Robinson added. “But watching the World Cup was also mentally pretty tough. I use it for motivation at this point. I’m so grateful to be back out here with this team.”

Robinson enjoyed a stellar year for club and country in 2021, earning MLS Best XI and All-Star honors before earning 14 caps with the USMNT. The 26-year-old also scored the winning goal for the USMNT in the Concacaf Nations League Final, a 1-0 triumph over rivals Mexico in the inaugural edition of the competition.

Robinson was one of several center backs fighting to earn a job in Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup squad prior to his injury and will now be focused on his long-term role in the program with several competitive tournaments in 2023. Tim Ream, Mark McKenzie, and Auston Trusty will all join Robinson in the USMNT’s centerback pool for March’s two-match schedule, providing him with new opportunities to grow his chemistry alongside all three of them.

“He’s someone that has been out for a long time, he had a terrible injury, it was such a shame,” said interim head coach Anthony Hudson. “We all felt terribly for him because one, he’s just a really, really good guy, good human being and a really important player. So for him to miss that much soccer and international soccer, and also the World Cup, was tough, was very tough for him.”

“…He looks back to the Miles that we all know, which is not always guaranteed after what he’s gone through and the injury that he had,” said fellow USMNT defender Tim Ream. “But to see him come out on the other side, and to have him back in here with the group has been great. And to watch him today in training, doing the things that he’s always done, is a good sign. So to have him back is only going to be a big positive for the team.”

Robinson has helped lead Atlanta United to a 3-1-0 record through four MLS matches in 2023, conceding only three goals through 360 minutes of action.


  1. I agree that Robinson and Richards would/should have been in Qatar if healthy but we’re being a little revisionist here. It was Robinson and Richards who got burned on Canada’s two chances in the game in Hamilton. They got totally owned on the first goal that let them sit back and make it hard to break down on the concrete field. Miles got burned on the 2nd goal just getting dribbled past.
    Ream is still there if Miles is healthy Long would have lost out. Long was the CB that didn’t see the field.
    IV: I’m hearing Richards is still bothered by his back injury. Could play in an emergency which why he still dressed for Palace but didn’t want to put him on long flights. Plus he’s got a new manager to work in with at Palace.

  2. If he doesn’t get that injury then we probably don’t see Ream at the WC. Robinson’s overall athletic ability and recovery speed may have allowed Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah to not have to protect the back line as much. Musah and Adams were absolutely gassed in that game against Holland.

    Also Robinson would probably be in Europe right now instead of with Atlanta still.

    Here is to hoping he still has the athleticism which it looks like from Atlanta games that his athleticism hasn’t been an issue.

    Excited to have him back.

    • you know what? You’re correct, we wouldn’t have seen Tim Ream which is why Berkhalter gotta go. Anyways, losing Miles Robinson was a big blow cause since the gold cup he was our best CB. I really hope he fully recovers from his injury. So far its a good sign that he starts for Atlanta already

    • yes, people forget the starters were richards and miles — and they were good. you are exactly right, if they are healthy then ream is fighting for one of two bench slots with Z, CCV, and long. i say this in part because “where is richards?” if we are playing starters to win, he looked good in february and you have the starting duo back healthy. and there is no way ream is around in 4 years.

      i am eager to see robinson because, yeah, he’s an athlete, but the defensive knack and soccer IQ. he’ll anticipate a problem, step into a space, and cut off a potential jailbreak. so i want to see if his legs are back and he’s the same player as before.

    • he just does a lot of little things right. he can island defend which some of them can’t. and i actually think he bails out the wingbacks more sliding out wide when they get caught up, than he has to worry about adams. i felt like he was a backline adams, that good. foot speed, defensive knack, and he positions well to clean up messes. (i say defensive knack because it’s a two way game — which many snobs miss — and some people have a marking and positioning talent and sense, and some don’t. eg dest has very little knack. he pushes too high up, dives in like a U14, flinches when someone fakes. now jedi has a knack — you can see it when he is back — but he is coached to push aggressively way upfield which negates most of its use. you can’t show how well you defend 20 yards wrong side of your man…..)

      anyhow, i was emphasizing helping out wide because i see more of that than bailing out the CMs. to me most of the dramatic stops he makes are some wingback has been caught up and he slides over to stymie the counter. i thought we missed that against holland, where we were just punished every time we got caught up. good defenders back there not every mistake turns into a domino sequence.

      • Exactly why b oth Adams and Musah were gassed. They were sliding out and protecting the wing backs as well as covering ground in the middle that Ream and Z-man just weren’t able to do. A healthy Robinson fixes that issue.

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