Landon Donovan Has Brutally Honest Take On USMNT Situation

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The Spun 06 September, 2021 - 06:00pm 15 views

What did Weston Mckennie do to get suspended?

Weston McKennie's suspension from the USA's 1-1 tie with Canada on Sunday night for violating what he said was "team Covid protocols" wasn't his first suspension for breaking Covid-19 protocols. ... U.S. midfielder Tyler Adams said the team learned of the national team suspension at a team meeting on Sunday afternoon. Soccer AmericaWeston McKennie suspended for a second time for breaking Covid-19 protocols 09/06/2021

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The USMNT were without star midfielder Weston McKennie in Sunday’s 1-1 draw versus Canada in their World Cup qualifying game due to a COVID-19 protocols violation. USMNT legend Landon Donovan is fuming over the situation.

Appearing on the Futbol with Grant Wahl podcast, Donovan said that the relationship between McKennie and the USMNT is “almost beyond repair” over his recent actions. He said that what he did may have lost him the trust of his teammates too.

“It is almost beyond repair, and he has a lot of work to do with his teammates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your teammates,” Donovan said.

Donovan said that he knows what McKennie did, but would not say what it was. He said he’s disappointing in what McKennie did.

“I am I am privy to what happened I’m not going to announce that publicly,” Donovan said. “I will just say, I am incredibly disappointed in Weston, incredibly disappointed. Look, I can understand Juventus during a long club season, you’re sitting at home for months and months and months and you want to have people over. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but I get it.”

Landon Donovan believes 'It is almost beyond repair' after Weston McKennie's Covid suspension 😬

— Goal News (@GoalNews) September 6, 2021

Weston McKennie has seven goals in 25 caps for the United States and is getting a bigger role at Juventus.

The USMNT attack was pretty uninspiring against Canada in yesterday’s game. They had 11 shots but only two on target.

McKennie could have been an asset to changing all of that.

Instead, he’s off the team for Thursday’s World Cup qualifying game against Honduras.

Tzvi is a writer at The Spun.

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USMNT's Weston McKennie out vs. Honduras after violating COVID protocols

The Athletic 06 September, 2021 - 11:10pm

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United States national team manager Gregg Berhalter sent midfielder Weston McKennie back to club side Juventus ahead of Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Monday.

The decision comes after McKennie was suspended for Sunday's 1-1 draw against Canada in World Cup qualifying. McKennie later posted on Instagram that his suspension was due to him breaching the team's COVID-19 protocols.

After the match, Berhalter said that it "remains to be seen" if McKennie would be available for the Honduras match. On Monday, the decision was made to suspend him further.

"Weston will return to Italy and will be unavailable for the match against Honduras due to a violation of team policy," Berhalter said via a statement. "There are high expectations for those who are a part of the U.S. Men's National Team, and in order to be successful it's important that everyone in the group is accountable."

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill has been called in to take McKennie's place. It was also announced that Barcelona defender Sergino Dest has been ruled out of the Honduras game after spraining an ankle against Canada.

With goalkeeper Zack Steffen testing positive for COVID-19 and Giovanni Reyna suffering a hamstring strain in the 0-0 tie against El Salvador, the U.S. will have 23 players available for selection on Wednesday. Steffen's spot on the roster was taken by New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

The absence of McKennie will be keenly felt, but Berhalter clearly thought he had no choice but to mete out further discipline to the Juventus midfielder following his violation of the team's protocol.

It isn't the first time McKennie has engaged in such behavior. Back in April he was suspended by then-Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo after he was found to have hosted a party that included Juventus teammates Paulo Dybala and Arthur. He was also fined by police.

Weston McKennie will not travel to Honduras 09/07/2021

Soccer America 06 September, 2021 - 11:10pm

John Herdman claimed a measure of disappointment, declaring at the start of his postgame press conference that all three points were there for the taking rather than just the one that his Canada side pocketed from Sunday’s World Cup qualifier vs. the US men’s national team at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.

His face told a slightly different story, though. The expressive Englishman looked like the proverbial cat who’d swallowed the canary. And why not? The coach had gotten the better of his US counterpart Gregg Berhalter as Les Rouges adeptly executed their cagey game plan, not only snatching a road draw but denying the Yanks two needed points in what should be a tight race to the three automatic qualification slots for Qatar 2022.

By now most readers are familiar with how Canada did it, sitting deep and organized between occasional but incisive surges forward into transition via the likes of Alphonso Davies, Junior Hoilett and Tajon Buchanan. While it wasn’t a surprising approach, it was effective, and neither Berhalter nor his players could think or pass or dribble their way through it quickly enough.

The visitors kept barely 28% of possession but dictated terms just the same.

“We changed rhythm in the game, there was a few little things we did to make sure the US never got comfortable against the 5-4-1, so I thought the boys executed that really well,” said Herdman, alluding to “micro-performances” and psychological cues and other such subtleties.

“We were able to control, without the ball, more of the game.”

Much has been said about the qualifying inexperience of this talent-rich yet young USMNT side as they labor to find their feet in this tense, unforgiving competition. It may also be time to underline the fact that – as many of these matches as he took part in as a player – it’s also the first WCQ go-round for Berhalter as a coach. Signs of that were certainly evident in the Music City.

It’s not that he and his staff didn’t try to problem-solve, to adjust their team’s approach to unlocking Canada’s bunker. And they did eventually roll the dice with a triple substitution as they chased a late winner. Everything was too little, too late, however.

“It was tough to break down, man, it really was. We needed much faster ball movement,” Berhalter said postgame.

“There was really very little space between the lines and we were trying to operate outside of the lines and it just gave Canada the opportunity to just keep shifting, and [we were] never really penetrating. So we tried to start working with some diagonal walls behind the backline, they were sliding out with a wingback to defend that. We tried some combinations inside, with our fullback paying directly to the striker, we needed more attachment with our attacking mids there. So it was challenging. It was difficult, and we didn't do a good enough job.”

On some level, U.S. Soccer signed on for this when they selected Berhalter for the job three years ago. Widespread reports indicated that older, more experienced candidates were passed on in favor of the intelligent, meticulous job he did with the Columbus Crew from 2013-18, and the substantial knowledge he offered as a distinguished USMNT player with 44 career caps and two World Cups to his name.

At his unveiling, then-federation president Carlos Cordeiro spoke of “an identity and approach that will be uniquely and fiercely ‘U.S.’,” strongly suggesting that Berhalter’s ideas, skills and background trumped any concerns about this being his first coaching gig at the international level.

So even with some 30 months to prepare for this qualification cycle, Berhalter is learning on the Octagonal job, just like all but six members of his current squad.

Certainly they’ve encountered some unlucky headwinds in this first window, with Christian Pulisic’s COVID-19 case, injuries to Gio Reyna, Tim Weah and Sergino Dest, and the stunning suspension of Weston McKennie just hours before Sunday’s game. But a pressing need for a Plan B, and perhaps a C and D as well, has already become evident. Reyna has since returned to Borussia Dortmund for treatment, Dest is out with an ankle sprain and McKennie is returning to Italy following a violation of team policy.

“I think we need new ideas at times,” Pulisic said after the Canada match. “Today we just didn't test them enough, whether it was not being direct enough or not – I’m not too sure, but it just felt like we couldn't break them down. Obviously they defended well. Yeah, we just need some new solutions.”

My 3 things from #USAvCAN:https://t.co/G6oqhZJPyz

The underachievement of these past two games falls across many shoulders, not just the coach’s. Many players looked tentative and risk-averse. Canada deserve just as much credit as the USMNT do blame. And the program’s shortage of reliable options for the No. 9 role, particularly in terms of clinical finishing, were known well before this window.

Still, given the makeup of this roster, Berhalter is almost certainly going to have to lead the way to some solutions, starting with Wednesday’s daunting visit to Honduras.

“We have to be resilient,” he said in Nashville. “I mean, we can do two things. We can feel bad for ourselves or we can continue on with a positive attitude and try to get a positive result in Honduras, which we're going to do.”

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