USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed Weston McKennie and Antonee Robinson underwent fitness tests on Tuesday to determine their eligibility for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier match against Costa Rica.
Neither player traveled to Panama for Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Canaleros.
Juventus midfielder McKennie was ruled out due to a quadricep injury he picked up in the previous match against Jamaica, flying directly to Columbus to receive 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.”
The organization originally stated Fulham’s Antonee Robinson avoided the Central American country to evade quarantine upon returning to the United Kingdom, but the player later confirmed in a press conference he faced ‘a little issue’ with his knee.
While he remained optimistic in saying, “I’ve had the chance to recover and get myself back in shape for the next game,” Berhalter maintained a realistic outlook. When asked about the involvement of either player in Wednesday’s match, the head coach replied firmly.
“Right now, we don’t have enough information to make that decision,” he said.
The U.S. will face an experienced Costa Rican side with goalkeeper Keylor Navas and midfielders Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz on the roster. While forward Joel Cambell is sidelined with an ankle injury, the team has maintained a fifth place position only two points behind the Americans.
“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.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.
“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.”
Berhalter initially took full responsibility and blame for the result against Panama after making seven line up changes, but later admitted to having no regrets.
“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.”
The U.S. stands in second place with eight points in five games, but the margins remain tight. Panama is tied with eight points, while Canada holds seven and Costa Rica six.