USMNT

Weston McKennie's USMNT omission explained & Gio Reyna injury update

Chris Smith
McKennie missed out vs Canada due to a team policy violation.
McKennie missed out vs Canada due to a team policy violation. / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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The USMNT were without three of their usual starters for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Canada; Weston McKennie, Giovanni Reyna and Zack Steffen.

Though Canada are a growing force, Gregg Berhalter's men still entered the World Cup qualifier in Nashville as huge favourites. But the US put in a frustratingly passive performance, failing to ask serious questions of John Herdman's compact defence.

Now, the US only have two points from their opening two qualifiers after drawing 0-0 with El Salvador last week. Not ideal as they seek to put the misery of missing out on Russia 2018 behind them.

Honduras are up next, so what is the status of these three absentees for that match?


Weston McKennie in "violation of team policy"

United States midfielder Weston McKennie, right, speaks with coach Gregg Berhalter during practice
United States midfielder Weston McKennie, right, speaks with coach Gregg Berhalter during practice / Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com via Imagn

Arguably the biggest miss of Sunday night was the absence of McKennie, who has quickly become a vital cog in Berhalter's machine.

Despite his importance, the Juventus midfielder was not seen departing the team bus on arrival at Nissan Stadium. The USMNT's official Twitter account later confirmed McKennie had not been included in the matchday squad due to "violation of team policy".

Just what that violation is remains unconfirmed, though it's suspected to be Covid-19 policy-related. McKennie was quick to offer an apology, writing on Instagram: "Unfortunately, I am suspended for tonight's match due to a violation of team Covid protocols. I am sorry for my actions, I will be cheering hard for the boys tonight and hope to be back with the team soon."

Though his status for Wednesday's game against Honduras remains unclear, you would suspect McKennie will make a return. However, after the match, Berhalter refused to be drawn on the situation and was somewhat unclear about his upcoming availability.

“Regarding Weston, it was a team policy and I’m not going to get into specifics on it," he said (via NBC Sports). "I can’t speak for Weston, you would have to ask him, but I’m sure he is [disappointed with himself]. I know he wanted to be out there with the boys today.”

On McKennie's availability vs Honduras, Berhalter added: “That remains to be seen.”


Gio Reyna out with a hamstring strain

Giovanni Reyna
United States v Mexico: Championship - CONCACAF Nations League Finals / ISI Photos/Getty Images

Reyna would certainly have helped the US in breaking down a stubborn Canadian defence, though Berhalter had enough talent at his disposal in Christian Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson.

The Borussia Dortmund playmaker was revealed to have suffered a right hamstring strain, with the USMNT's official Twitter account confirming he'll also miss the trip to Honduras.


Zack Steffen tests positive for Covid-19

Steffen hasn't played for the US since the Nations League final in June.
Steffen hasn't played for the US since the Nations League final in June. / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Steffen hasn't had much luck at international level since coming off injured during June's Nations League final win over Mexico.

Manchester City's backup goalkeeper pulled out of last week's opening qualifier against El Salvador with back spasms, before ultimately being ruled out of the draw with Canada after testing positive for Covid-19.

In accordance with US protocol, Steffen will now self-isolate for 10 days, meaning he'll miss the trip to Honduras, while also being ruled out of Man City's clash against Leicester this weekend. NYCFC's Sean Johnson has replaced Steffen on the roster.

 “U.S. Soccer has confirmed that goalkeeper Zack Steffen has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not travel to Honduras for the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 8 in San Pedro Sula. He will be replaced on the roster by Sean Johnson," read a statement from US Soccer.

“Steffen’s positive result was confirmed through rigorous serial testing in accordance with U.S. Soccer’s COVID-19 protocols. After his initial positive result, Steffen was isolated and contact tracing was initiated by U.S. Soccer’s medical staff.

“His positive result was confirmed with additional testing that was completed today. In addition to Steffen, one other member of the delegation also tested positive and has undergone the same protocol.

“All potential contacts – players and staff – have tested negative in multiple tests since Steffen’s initial positive result and are cleared to participate.”


Sergino Dest limps out with "ankle sprain"

United States defender Sergino Dest (2) is helped by a trainer during the first half in a FIFA World
United States defender Sergino Dest (2) is helped by a trainer during the first half in a FIFA World / George Walker IV / The Tennessean via

Sergino Dest hasn't covered himself in glory during this international break, particularly struggling defensively against El Salvador. But he remains an important attacking outlet for Berhalter and caused Canada some problems with some driving runs during the first half on Sunday.

But just before half-time, the Barcelona man went down holding his ankle, forcing him off the pitch to be replaced by DeAndre Yedlin.

Asked about his status after the match, Berhalter said it's too soon to say whether or not he'll be available against Honduras.

“Sergiño has an ankle sprain and we’re going to have to find out if he’ll be available on Wednesday," he told reporters.

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