Weston McKennie, alongside Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah, has found himself sidelined as the Juventus midfielder pulled out from US Men’s National Team (USMNT) duty due to a knee issue.

The United States took control of the series with a 3-0 win on Friday in Austin, Texas. All three goals scored by Ricardo Pepi, Antonee Robinson, and Gio Reyna had McKennie, a pivotal player in that game, credited with an assist.

The result of this game and the away leg on November 20 will determine not only which team advances in the Nations League. It will also decide which team advances in the race to host the prestigious Copa America tournament in the United States in 2024.

The midfielder played the whole 90 minutes on November 17, but Gregg Berhalter will miss him for the return leg after the 25-year-old was sidelined due to a knee injury.

He has since had to return to Italy after being forced to leave the national team’s training camp. On Saturday, the team declared that they would not be naming a replacement.

How long will Weston McKennie be out?

“USMNT midfielder 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 travelled to face Trinidad & Tobago in the second leg of the Concacaf Nations League Quarterfinal on Saturday”, a statement from the US Men’s National Team read.

The news of his injury will cause anxiety for Juventus as they get ready to play Inter Milan next weekend. He reportedly has tendinitis in his left knee. There has apparently been a recurrence of an old injury. However, the reason for McKennie’s absence from the USMNT team is reportedly precautionary, according to Football Italia.

The matter is deemed not highly concerning, leading to his return home as a precautionary step. The report adds that the American star has a chance to play in next week’s Derby D’Italia against the Serie A top side.

How will Juventus and USMNT change without McKennie?

Max Allegri, manager of Juventus, will be keeping his fingers crossed in the event of an injury to another midfielder. Allegri’s depth at that position is already thin. While Manuel Locatelli’s status is unclear, Nicolo Fagioli and Paul Pogba have been banned.

After a short loan at Leeds, McKennie has established himself as an integral part of the Bianconeri’s starting lineup. The team has used him in the midfield and in the right wingback position.

Even at this early point of the 2023-24 season, McKennie has received praise. Many predicted that he would leave Italy this coming summer. However, his strong play this season has earned him a spot in Allegri’s first team rotation.

On the other hand, without the former Schalke talent, the United States national team’s midfield has less spark. Coach Gregg Berhalter might try moving Yunus Musah up to make more direct runs, or he could play Lennard Maloney in defensive midfield.

This strategic move, however, increases the burden on wingers, with Kevin Paredes and Malik Tillman under heat for their recent play. They face a tough battle in Port of Spain, but they have a three-goal lead that should be enough to get them through.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire