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COLUMBUS, Ohio — United States coach Gregg Berhalter said that both midfielder Weston McKennie and left-back Antonee Robinson will undergo fitness tests later on Tuesday to see if they will be able to play in Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.
“Right now, we don’t have enough information to make that decision,” Berhalter said at Tuesday’s pre-match video call.
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McKennie didn’t even travel to Panama for Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Canaleros due to a quadricep injury he picked up in the previous match against Jamaica. He instead traveled ahead to Columbus to get further treatment.
“He pushed it a little bit yesterday, and the signs are he’s making progress,” said Berhalter about McKennie. “But we’ll have to see today in training.”
Robinson joined McKennie in traveling early to Columbus as well. Initially Robinson’s absence was explained as a desire to minimize the effects of quarantine rules in the U.K., where Panama remains a red-list country.
But during Tuesday’s call, Robinson mentioned that he has also been dealing with “a little issue with my knee” and that he’s been receiving treatment for it since the Jamaica game. He sounded optimistic about his recovery.
“I’ve had the chance to recover and get myself back in shape for the next game,” he said.
The U.S. will face a Costa Rica side that heavy in experience, with goalkeeper Keylor Navas, midfielder Celso Borges and midfielder Bryan Ruiz all on the roster. And yesterday it was announced that 39-year-old striker Alvaro Saborio and 37-year-old midfielder Christian Bolaños would be added to the roster. Forward Joel Campbell will miss due to a sprained right ankle. Costa Rica has earned six points from their first five games, putting them in fifth place, but just two points behind the U.S.
“This is a group that’s been together for a long time, and there’s certainly strengthen in that, and there’s certainly an advantage to that,” said Berhalter about Costa Rica. “For us, it’s just the opposite. We’re a young, up-and-coming team, and we have to use that to our advantage.”
The U.S. will attempt to bounce back from the woeful performance against Panama, one in which the U.S. failed to register a single shot on goal.
“We missed an opportunity to get, at minimum, a point in that game. And that’s something that we regret and we’re disappointed with,” he said. “For us, it’s about getting back to what we do well, and that’s movement off the ball. Everything we talked about pre-Jamaica game is exactly what’s back on the stage now.”
That said, Berhalter made clear he didn’t regret his choice of lineup, one that featured seven changes from the Jamaica game, and overall failed to offer much threat going forward.
“We believe in every single player in this squad, and I don’t regret in any moment playing that lineup,” he said. “I regret more our performance, and some of the attacking adjustments we could have made in that game to be more mobile, to be moving more, but not personnel.”