Weston McKennie injury: Juventus star suffers broken foot in Champions League game, will miss USMNT qualifiers

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie is expected to be sidelined for at least two months after initial scans revealed a fractured second and third metatarsal on his left foot, CBS Sports insider Fabrizio Romano confirms. The injury rules him out of the final batch of Concacaf World Cup qualifiers as the United States men’s national team fight to book a ticket to Qatar this winter with March fixtures against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica. 

The start of Juve’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Villarreal in the round of 16 could not have been better, with Dusan Vlahovic netting the opener only 32 seconds into the game. Little did Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri know that it would be all downhill from there for his team. Dani Parejo would take advantage of Juventus sleepwalking through the match to level things in the 65th minute, and with just about 10 minutes to go, Juventus saw McKennie hobble off the field in considerable pain without being able to put any weight on his left foot.

It all came from a Pervis Estupinan challenge down the sideline in the 81st minute, McKennie rolled his ankle and had to receive treatment from the medical team as he hobbled off. He was taken off immediately and was unable to put weight on the ankle as he left the stadium in a walking boot. 

This is obviously a huge loss in the center of the park for Juventus and USMNT, as he has been the engine for both club and country in the midfield. During the match, McKennie had created three chances but was seeing less of the ball than he is used to with only 39 touches due to an impressive defensive shift from Villarreal. He had four recoveries and got off one shot that was off target. But both for Juventus and the United States men’s national team, any time missed by McKennie would be a concern. With a fracture, McKennie will miss the final three World Cup Qualifiers for the United States and the remainder of the season would be in doubt for Juventus.

How will the United States cope with the loss of McKennie during World Cup Qualifying?

While Juventus has a direct replacement for McKennie in Denis Zakaria, Gregg Berhalter doesn’t have the same luxury as the United States look to book their place in Qatar. When McKennie missed the draw against Canada in September, Sebastian Lletget slotted into his place in midfield so he would likely be in the mix to play again during these matches. Despite only appearing in seven matches so far, McKennie is 10th in Concacaf for expected assists during World Cup qualifying with 1.54.

This shows the creative force that the national team will lose, which could lead to Berhalter going in a slightly more defensive direction and utilizing Kellyn Acosta further up the pitch. Acosta brings a set play threat to the team while having decent passing range and can free up Tyler Adams to do a bit more. With Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica on the docket, grinding out clean sheets could be the way to go.

With games every three days in March, Cole Bassett or Luca de la Torre could also be called in to offer an attacking presence alongside Adams and Yunus Musah.

You can watch Juventus in both Champions League and Serie A action and the USMNT in Concacaf World Cup qualifying all on Paramount+.

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