The United States men’s national team was already going to be without starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen for Friday’s must-win CONCACAF Nations League match against Canada. Now they won’t have red-hot Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic or veteran midfielder Michael Bradley, either.
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that Bradley would not be able to report to the USMNT’s ongoing training camp in Florida after suffering a right ankle injury playing for Toronto FC in Sunday’s MLS Cup final loss to the Seattle Sounders.
Pulisic was named to the squad last week. Now, just for days before the match in Orlando [7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/TUDN/UniMas], he has been ruled out by coach Gregg Berhalter after picking up a hip injury over the weekend in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Pulisic scored before limping out of that match, his fifth goal in the Blues’ last three English Premier League games.
That means that the U.S. will be without four surefire starters (hip and toe injuries have kept RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams out since last May) and their best player, a significant blow ahead of Friday’s contest at Exploria Stadium. But they will have in-form Sounders midfielder Jordan Morris and Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan, who rounded out the 23-man roster following the domestic league’s championship.
Steffen actually played for his German club, Fortuna Dusseldorf, on Saturday. A USMNT spokesman said the backstop, 24, is suffering from “ongoing tendinitis in his left knee” that won’t get better without rest. Because of the international break, Dusseldorf’s next Bundesliga match won’t come until Nov. 23, when they host Bayern Munich.
The U.S. suffered an embarrassing 2-0 loss to Canada last month in Toronto, the Americans’ first loss to their northern neighbor in 34 years. The defeat means that coach Gregg Berhalter’s team has to beat Canada in the rematch and then Cuba next week in order to advance to next June’s final four.
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