USMNT

Aaron Long injury scare could further USMNT woes

Lizzy Becherano
New York Red Bulls player Aaron Long exited the match against D.C. United with possible injury.
New York Red Bulls player Aaron Long exited the match against D.C. United with possible injury. / Ira L. Black - Corbis/GettyImages
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The U.S. men’s national team injury concerns continued after defender Aaron Long exited the New York Red Bulls’ Open Cup match against D.C. United in the opening 15 minutes. 

The player suffered a 'tightness in the calf,' according to NYRB head coach Gerhard Struber. While he hopes the knock is 'not that bad' and is 'optimistic,' Long will be undergoing scans to reveal the extent of the damage. 

The scare comes after he suffered a season-ending injury in 2021. Long ruptured his right Achilles on May 16 which sidelined him for over eight months. He was unable to feature for the Major League Soccer side, and sat out the first phase of World Cup qualifiers with the USMNT. 

He made his return to the national team in February, coming off the bench to replace DeAndre Yedlin against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca. Though the 28-year-old's inclusion in Gregg Berhalter’s starting 11 has been sporadic, he remains a steady factor in the overall roster. 

With Miles Robinson sidelined for the next six to nine months with a ruptured Achilles tendon, many assumed Long would be his successor to stand alongside Walker Zimmerman, Yedlin and Antonee Robinson in the back four. Berhalter’s defensive options are already limited, with Chris Richards and Sergino Dest injured as well. 

The USMNT is set to host several friendly matches and feature in the Concacaf Nations League ahead of the World Cup, giving Berhalter the opportunity to test new formations and rotate players. But with injuries coming thick and fast, a trusted and known 23-player roster may be harder to formulate than previously thought.


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