Five USMNT players expected to miss start of UEFA Champions League with injuries or Covid

Each of the USA's three World Cup 2022 qualifiers proved costly.

Gio Reyna (El Salvador match), Sergino Dest (Canada) and Christian Pulisic (Honduras) all suffered injuries during the opening of the Octagonal.

On top of that, Tim Weah was injured on the eve of the qualifying window, and goalkeeper Zack Steffen tested positive for Covid-19 during his stay in Nashville.

All five players play for clubs that will start the UEFA Champions League group stage next week.

Gio Reyna. Reyna's injury appears to be most serious. He suffered a strained hamstring in the 0-0 tie with El Salvador and missed the next two qualifiers.

At his press conference ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund coach Marco Rose said: “Gio Reyna is injured and will be out for the next few games. We hope that he will be back after the next international break.”

The USA's next three games are Oct. 7-13 against Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica. If Reyna remains out, he will miss four Bundesliga games and Dortmund's first two Champions League games. He started the season in a new, more influential role at BVB, and scored two goals in three Bundesliga games. He started all five games Dortmund has played.

Sergino Dest. Barcelona's medical report on Dest's condition was released on Wednesday after tests were conducted. He sprained his right ankle and "is currently unfit to play," according to the Spanish club. Dest started Barca's first two LaLiga games and came off the bench in the third game. Brazilian Emerson Royal returned from his loan spell at Real Betis and was expected to provide competition for Dest at right back, but he was sold to Tottenham on the final day of the transfer window.

Barcelona LaLiga match against Sevilla on Saturday was postponed on orders of the Spanish sports ministry due to the Thursday set of games in the South American qualifiers on which both teams had players competing. Barca's next game is Tuesday against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Christian Pulisic. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said Pulisic returned to the London club's training facility on crutches after suffering an ankle injury in the second half of the USA's 4-1 win at Honduras and will be out "about 10 days."

Pulisic will likely miss games against Aston Villa, Zenit St. Petersburg and Tottenham, the latter game on Sept. 19, the day after his 23rd birthday. He started and scored in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on the Premier League's opening game but that is the only game he's played. He tested positive for Covid-19 and missed the next two Premier League matches.

Tim Weah. Weah suffered a thigh injury in training on Aug. 28 and was expected to be sidelined three weeks for defending Ligue 1 champion Lille. He missed Friday's 2-1 loss at Lorient. Lille has a heavy schedule between now and the next international break with midweek games each week, two in the Champions League and one Ligue 1 match. He played well in his two Ligue 1 starts before his injury. His absence is felt much more than last season when Lille's corps of forwards and wingers was deeper.

Zack Steffen. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Steffen remains in isolation in the United States. With starting keeper Ederson just returning from the South America qualifiers with Brazil, Steffen would have started City's match against Leicester City on Saturday. Instead, Scott Carson, 36, will likely start in goal.

1 comment about "Five USMNT players expected to miss start of UEFA Champions League with injuries or Covid".
  1. James Madison, September 11, 2021 at 7:13 p.m.

    In the interest of Reyna's long term fitness, If I were Brhalter, I would let him skip the next qualifyhing match series.

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