Can USMNT afford to have Weston McKennie sidelined for September window?

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Juventus and United States Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie will be sidelined for at least the next three weeks after suffering a dislocated left shoulder in training, the Italian club announced on Monday.

It’s possible that McKennie will be cleared to play before the USMNT’s final pre-World Cup international window in September, but he might also need more time to recover, which would put coach Gregg Berhalter in a difficult but familiar situation.

“Gregg Berhalter, you can agree or disagree with him, but you can respect the fact that basically since he took over the team, he’s had to shuffle,” Alexi Lalas said on Monday’s episode of the “State of the Union” podcast. “Yes, he has had the benefit of depth and a lot of talent, but rarely has he had everybody healthy and there.

“I worry about Weston McKennie, like I would anyone else, because I do think he is a starter. But you just kind of deal with it and roll with it, and at this point this team just rolls with it.”

McKennie out with shoulder injury

Almost 100 days from teams taking the field at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, USMNT star Weston McKennie is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

McKennie, who missed the end of last season with Juve due to a broken left foot, is more than just a starter for the USMNT. He’s arguably their best player and indisputably their most dynamic midfielder.

Berhalter has other options he can slot next to Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah in the midfield, including more attack-minded players like Gio Reyna, Brenden Aaronson and Luca de la Torre. But none of those players is a like-for-like replacement for McKennie, whose work rate, aerial ability and speed with the ball set him apart.

The good news for both McKennie and the USMNT is that the 23-year-old’s spot on the World Cup roster is all but solidified, so missing the September window wouldn’t be as detrimental for him or the team as with someone on the bubble like de la Torre or Gianluca Busio

Still, team fitness will be at the forefront for every squad in November’s tournament, so the sooner McKennie is back, the more settled everyone will be before the World Cup.

You can watch the “State of the Union” podcast on YouTube or subscribe on podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts.


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