After securing a place in the 2022 World Cup, United States has been struck by the injury bug ahead of this summer’s World Cup tune-up matches. Many players are either struggling with new injuries or dealing with lingering problems that have continued through the season.
A host of important players have been struck down in recent weeks, as head coach Gregg Berhalter will be sweating the health and form of key players as the summer arrives and the team prepares for World Cup tune-up matches.
Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, and Matt Turner were all sidelined recently and have struggled to see the field. There are also others with injury problems that have cropped up recently, as Miles Robinson and Chris Richards were sidelined with long-term issues.
MORE: Full breakdown of USMNT roster for March World Cup qualifiers
Here is an updated list of all key USMNT internationals currently struggling with injury problems, either sidelined or with a reduced ability to compete.
The 23-year-old midfielder was injured on Champions League duty with Juventus, suffering a broken metatarsal against Villarreal in the Round of 16 first leg. He went down under a heavy tackle by Pervis Estupinan in the 81st minute that caught his foot awkwardly.
MORE: Weston McKennie ruled out for season by Juventus boss Allegri
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri confirmed that McKennie would miss the remainder of the club regular season, ruling him out for the USMNT March qualifiers plus another couple of months.
However, McKennie said in early April that he was actually targeting a return before the end of the season, and Allegri confirmed that the American could potentially beat his previous diagnosis and make it back before campaign concludes.
“We hope to have McKennie back for the beginning of May,” Allegri told reporters. “Where there’s at least four or five matches left.”
Gio Reyna has missed nearly the entire club season with a hamstring injury that will not go away. The injury was initially suffered on international duty, withdrawn late in the 0-0 draw with El Salvador that began the competition back in early September.
The 19-year-old has attempted numerous comebacks since, with many falling short and seeing Reyna return to the trainer’s room. In February, Reyna earned his first start since August, but only made it 29 minutes before he was brought off the field in tears.
MORE: Gio Reyna forced off in tears with new injury setback
He has finally returned to the field successfully, but both his club team Borussia Dortmund and international side wish to ease him back to competition for fear of another setback. Reyna has had a pair of substitute appearances in Bundesliga play in the past week, and he earned a start against Koln on Saturday, surprisingly finishing the full 90 minutes and looking dangerous on occasions.
Berhalter admitted he will monitor Reyna’s minutes with the international squad, saying, “I had a good call with Dortmund today, with the coach at Dortmund and planning out his usage, how much we can use [Reyna].
“The important thing is us qualifying to the World Cup, but secondly, it’s Gio returning healthy to his club. And we’re mindful of his load, the work that he’s done the last couple of weeks, and we’re going to adjust accordingly.”
Unfortunately, the hamstring problems resurfaced as Reyna returned to Germany. After just six minutes of play against Stuttgart on April 8, Reyna was withdrawn and could be seen in tears again as he exited the pitch. Dortmund boss Marco Rose confirmed that Reyna would miss the rest of the season.
I’m sick to my stomach for Miles Robinson. Another Achilles for @ATLUTD is mind blowing. #UNITEandConquer #USMNT pic.twitter.com/UklMtjRave
On May 7, starting USMNT center-back Miles Robinson suffered a serious foot injury in an MLS match for Atlanta United against the Chicago Fire.
In the 18th minute of the match, Robinson landed awkwardly on his left foot settling the ball with his chest under no pressure. He went down in pain and slapped the ground in frustration, immediately aware that something bad had happened. Robinson was eventually stretchered off the field, clearly in pain and very upset.
After the match, Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said, “I think it’s going to be a bad injury.” Sure enough, on Monday morning, Roger Gonzalez of CBS Sports reported that Robinson indeed does have a torn Achilles and will have surgery immediately, confirmed by Atlanta United within the hour. No word of a timetable for his return was immediately available, but it will be a race for his World Cup availability, and that may well prove a losing battle.
🚨 Sources tell CBS Sports that USMNT defender Miles Robinson will undergo surgery today. It is indeed a torn Achilles.
Social media reaction to the injury seemed to point towards playing on turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a potential cause for the injury, as Atlanta United has suffered a number of long-term tendon injuries this season, many coming on turf fields both at home and on the road. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan also tore his Achilles, and midfielder Ozzie Alonso tore his ACL.
Robinson has been a first-choice defender for a number of years now under head coach Gregg Berhalter, and at a position of thin depth for the United States, it will be a race against time for Robinson to regain match fitness for the 2022 World Cup, with likely not enough time for a return before the tournament.
MORE: A full breakdown of the Miles Robinson injury and who could replace him at center-back
After a fabulous start to the 2022 MLS season, midfielder Djordje Mihailovic of CF Montreal was called up to the USMNT for the summer camp, and many believed he had a shot at making the 2022 World Cup roster.
Before camp could even convene, however, Mihailovic was withdrawn from the roster, having suffered an ankle injury in the 4-3 CF Montreal win over FC Cincinnati on Saturday, May 29. He was withdrawn in the 17th minute after a collision with Junior Moreno.
It’s a big blow to Mihailovic, who had collected seven goals and four assists over the first two months of the MLS season, adding to his total of four goals and 16 assists last campaign.
The USMNT lacked creativity over the final few windows of World Cup qualifying, and Mihailovic’s MLS form possibly carrying over to the national team would have been a big boost for the squad. However, with little time now to integrate into the side before the World Cup, his chances of making the winter roster have diminished.
An ankle injury has forced Djordje Mihailovic off the #USMNT roster for June training camp.
Like Gio Reyna, young full-back Sergino Dest has not been able to build any momentum at Barcelona, continuously hampered by his troublesome hamstring.
Just days prior to the March international window, Dest was taken off late against Galatasaray in the Europa League with a hamstring injury. The injury occurred just hours before the USMNT roster release for the March qualifiers, so Dest was initially included, but was replaced in short order by George Bello.
MORE: Why John Brooks was left off USMNT roster for March qualifiers
Sergino Dest comes off with an apparent injury against Galatasaray. #UEL pic.twitter.com/2tmRRD2FGV
Dest’s injury was bad enough that he was seen being carried piggyback-style by Barcelona teammate Gavi back at the team hotel after the match.
Gavi llevó a Sergiño Dest a caballito en la llegada del Barça al hotel (vía @JosepSoldado) #fcblive pic.twitter.com/mm5d6plaRB
The American missed almost a month of action, returning for three La Liga matches. Barcelona defenders began dropping like flies, with Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, and Dani Alves all withdrawn in a single match against Real Sociedad. Dest was handed a start against Rayo Vallecano, but after a poor bit of defending ultimately conceded the game’s only goal, the American was the next victim of the club’s injury bug, withdrawn at halftime due to another hamstring injury.
The club announced the injury the following day, with no timeline for Dest’s return. He could possibly miss the remainder of the season.
Tests carried out on the first team player Sergiño Dest have confirmed that the player has injured the semitendinosus muscle in his right hamstring. The player is unavailable for selection and his recovery will dictate his return. pic.twitter.com/CyMuvETyJ6
The starting goalkeeper for nine of the 11 USMNT World Cup qualifiers this cycle, Matt Turner went down with a sprained ankle in New England Revolution preseason training.
His club manager Bruce Arena was non-specific regarding Turner’s timetable for a recovery, saying Turner would need “a few more weeks” when speaking in early March. However, the injury was significant enough that Berhalter left Turner off the USMNT roster for March qualifiers, replaced by Ethan Horvath.
As a result of the injury, Turner, who has earned a move to Arsenal this coming summer, has not yet appeared for the Revs in the young 2022 MLS season.
Richards, like Reyna, was injured on international duty. The 21-year-old defender was injured late in the 2-0 loss to Canada in the previous window, forced off the field before full-time leaving the U.S. down to 10 men having already used all its substitutes. After the match, Berhalter admitted fears that the foot was broken, but later reports seemed to indicate it was not that severe.
Hoffenheim & #USMNT defender Chris Richards will stay with his national team for treatment in the short term. The good news for all parties is it’s a bruised foot & not a broken bone. Richards nevertheless won’t be able to play for the Kraichgauer against Mainz this weekend.
He missed seven Bundesliga matches as a result of the injury and was not included on the March international roster.
Richards returned to play for Hoffenheim on April 2 and played in three club matches, but a new injury cropped up as he picked up a thigh problem. He was withdrawn from the match against Gunther Firth on April 17, and Hoffenheim confirmed he would miss the rest of the season.
Thank you to TSG for everything. Only likely to be out for the next 3-4 weeks but sadly the season will be over by then… Appreciate all the support and messages from everybody and good luck to the boys for the remainder of the season. 💙 LeTSGo https://t.co/avCHnCw8wG
One of the most recent additions to the list, Brenden Aaronson was withdrawn from the RB Salzburg starting lineup just prior to the March 20 Austrian Bundesliga match against Wolfsberg.
Last-minute change to our starting XI ‼️ Brenden #Aaronson had to pull out due to knee problems, unfortunately – and Nicolas #Capaldo will start instead. #WACRBS pic.twitter.com/qCnYnDoZwi
Initially there was some confusion as to the severity of the injury and whether Aaronson would miss the three World Cup qualifiers. First on the report was Meg Swanick, then ESPN’s Taylor Twellman.
U.S. soccer disputed this, saying Aaronson was “day-to-day.” Then, just hours later, U.S. soccer announced that Aaronson would miss the three World Cup qualifiers, unable to return in time to play in any of the critical matches.
Aaronson is out of the @USMNT WCQ with an MCL injury. 2-4 weeks timetable for return. #USMNT
After reviewing the updated medical information and in consultation with Red Bull Salzburg, it has been determined that Brenden Aaronson will not be available to play in the #USMNT’s upcoming World
Cup Qualifying matches. pic.twitter.com/c9Fr6txl17
Aaronson eventually returned to club action with RB Salzburg on April 24, and should be fit and ready to go for the USMNT this summer.