Tim Weah ruled out of USMNT match against Canada amid vaccination issues

Lizzy Becherano
Timothy Weah will not be traveling to Canada with the USMNT amid vaccination issues
Timothy Weah will not be traveling to Canada with the USMNT amid vaccination issues / John Dorton/ISI Photos/GettyImages

US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter revealed Brooks Lennon and Tim Weah will be unavailable for the team’s highly-anticipated World Cup qualifier against Canada on Sunday. 

The players are no longer with the squad as they traveled to Hamilton, Ontario for the definitive game. 

“Brooks Lennon has returned to Atlanta United. He's getting evaluated for a slight ankle injury, and we're going to get some information in the next couple of days on that,” said the coach.

“And secondly, Tim Weah will be unavailable for selection in this game, as he was not permitted to travel into Canada because of a vaccination issue.

"Whereas in France, he's fully vaccinated, he didn't meet the criteria for the Canadian entry. So moving forward, we have a roster of 25 players that can be selected for this game.”

Prior to the start of the international window, Berhalter stated that all members of the team, both staff and players, were fully vaccinated. It was not until this week that the USMNT staff realized Weah did not meet Canadian standards. 

“In terms of Timmy, he had one shot, one vaccination. He got COVID, he was awaiting the second shot, and due to the time of when he got COVID, he wasn't able to get that second shot yet,” explained Berhalter when pressed for further details. 

“However, in France, he's listed as fully vaccinated because the one shot-plus-COVID means you’re vaccinated and you're okay. And as a technicality, it wasn't acceptable in Canada.”

While newcomer Lennon was not expected to feature in the lineup, Berhalter was counting on Weah to feature after he started against El Salvador during the USMNT’s 1-0 win in Columbus on Thursday night. 

His absence opens a spot on the wings of the USMNT’s usual 4-3-3 formation, leaving Berhalter with the opportunity to sub in Jordan Morris, Brenden Aaronson, Paul Arriola or Cristian Roldan. 

“This is something we can't control, the nuances of the COVID protocol, and we just have to deal with it. And it will be about the next man stepping up and doing their job.”

The United States stands in second place on the Concacaf table with a record of 5-3-1 and just one point behind Canada. A win in Ontario would see USMNT leapfrog their table-topping opponents.