McKennie sent back to Italy after violating US team rules

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Midfielder Weston McKennie is being sent back to Italy and will miss his second straight World Cup qualifier after breaking U.S. team COVID-19 protocols.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made the announcement Monday, a day after the U.S. and Canada played a 1-1 draw.

McKennie, among the leaders on the U.S. team, started last Thursday’s opening 0-0 draw at El Salvador. He was not allowed to be on Sunday’s game-day roster.

With pressure mounting, the 10th-ranked U.S. plays at No. 63 Honduras on Wednesday night.

“Weston will return to Italy and will be unavailable for the match against Honduras due to a violation of team policy,” Berhalter said in 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.”

McKennie apologized in a statement Sunday. The U.S. Soccer Federation did not make him available to media.

A 23-year-old from Fort Lewis, Washington, McKennie missed Juventus’ derby against Torino in April after violating COVID-19 protocols in Italy. One of the top U.S. players, he has seven goals in 25 international appearances.

Sergiño Dest also will miss the game after spraining his right ankle in the 44th minute Sunday. The Barcelona outside back joined Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna (strained right hamstring) and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen (back spasms and positive COVID-19 test) on the sidelines.

San Jose midfielder Jackson Yueill was added to the roster and trained with the team on Monday.

The revised roster:

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest, England), Sean Johnson (New York City), Matt Turner (New England).

Defenders: George Bello (Atlanta), John Brooks (Wolfsburg, Germany), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona, Spain), Mark McKenzie (Genk, Belgium), Tim Ream (Fulham, England), Antonee Robinson (Fulham, England), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), James Sands (New York City), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray, Turkey), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado), Tyler Adams (Leipzig, Germany), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Cristian Roldan, (Seattle) Jackson Yueill (San Jose)

Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Salzburg, Austria), Konrad de la Fuente (Olympique Marseille, France), Jordan Pefok (Young Boys, Switzerland), Ricardo Pepi (Dallas), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, England), Josh Sargent (Norwich, England)


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