Juventus Midfielder Weston McKennie Faces Setback with Knee Issue, Affecting USMNT’s Copa America Hopes
Weston McKennie, the talented midfielder for Juventus and the US Men’s National Team (USMNT), has been sidelined due to a knee issue, jeopardizing his team’s chances in the upcoming Copa America tournament. McKennie, along with Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah, has been forced to withdraw from USMNT duty due to the injury.
In a recent game against a strong opponent, the United States secured a commanding 3-0 victory, with McKennie playing a pivotal role by providing an assist for all three goals. The outcome of this game, as well as the return leg on November 20, holds significant importance not only for the Nations League but also for determining the host country for the prestigious Copa America in 2024.
Despite playing the full 90 minutes on November 17, McKennie’s knee injury has ruled him out for the return leg of the series. As a result, the 25-year-old midfielder had to return to Italy to seek treatment and recovery at Juventus. Unfortunately, the USMNT will not be naming a replacement for McKennie in the squad.
A statement from the US Men’s National Team confirmed that Weston McKennie has departed camp to recover from an aggravated left knee tendinopathy. No replacement will be added to the roster as the United States traveled to face Trinidad & Tobago in the second leg of the Concacaf Nations League Quarterfinal. The absence of McKennie due to the knee issue has put a damper on the team’s preparations for the decisive match.
While the news of the injury is causing concern for Juventus, who are preparing to face Inter Milan in their next fixture, it is believed to be a precautionary measure. McKennie reportedly has tendinitis in his left knee, and the decision to send him back to Italy is aimed at ensuring his long-term fitness. Although there has been a recurrence of an old injury, the situation is not deemed highly concerning, offering hope that McKennie could still feature in the highly-anticipated Derby D’Italia against the Serie A leaders.
For Juventus manager Max Allegri, the injury to McKennie puts pressure on an already thin midfield. With uncertainty surrounding Manuel Locatelli’s availability and the absence of Nicolo Fagioli and Paul Pogba due to bans, Allegri will be crossing his fingers for the fitness of his remaining midfielders. McKennie’s loan spell at Leeds United proved instrumental in establishing him as a key player for Juventus, featuring prominently in midfield and occasionally in the right wingback position.
Meanwhile, the absence of McKennie from the USMNT severely dampens the team’s midfield spark. Coach Gregg Berhalter has the option of moving Yunus Musah higher up the pitch for more direct runs or relying on Lennard Maloney in the defensive midfield role. These tactical adjustments will place a greater burden on the wingers, particularly Kevin Paredes and Malik Tillman, who face scrutiny for their recent performances. Although the United States holds a comfortable three-goal lead, they must navigate a challenging encounter in Port of Spain to secure their spot in the next round.
As the injury to Weston McKennie creates uncertainty for both Juventus and the US Men’s National Team, the focus now shifts to his recovery and the impact it will have on future fixtures for club and country. Fans will be hoping for a swift and successful return to action for the talented midfielder, as both Juventus and the USMNT strive for success on their respective stages.