Weston McKennie will start a match for the first time since February in the United States Men’s National Team’s friendly against Uruguay on Sunday, Gregg Berhalter has announced.
The Juventus midfielder hasn’t been in the starting XI for club or country since breaking his foot but came off the bench in the USMNT’s 3-0 friendly win over Morocco in midweek.
On Saturday, Berhalter named the starting XI that will face Uruguay on Sunday, with McKennie named in the midfield for the first half.
*Antonee Robinson will only start if he recovers from illness. If not, Joe Scally will come into the XI.
“He’s at a point now where I think he can he can start the game,” Berhalter told reporters at a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“Again, limiting his minutes to 45 and going from there, but I’m really anxious to see how he can do it. I’m a little bit cautious because there is in the back of your mind a little bit of concern. But it’s going to be a competitive game, and there’s no one you’d rather have out there than Weston.”
The USMNT put in a clinical and effective attacking performance against Morocco and caught out their African opponents on a number of occasions with their high-pressing.
However, Uruguay will prove an altogether tougher test. Ranked 13th in the world, the South American side made easy work of Mexico during a midweek friendly, beating the USMNT’s arch-rivals 3-0, with Edinson Cavani scoring a brace.
Berhalter is certainly looking forward to seeing how his team matches up against such illustrious opposition.
“It’s continuing on our game model, continue on to be a pressing team,” Berhalter said. “We turned Morocco over a number of times and could have had goalscoring opportunities, so that was important. But then, what I saw from Uruguay is extreme wing play, really good on the wings, on both flanks, dominant in midfield. That midfield trio is a really high level and that’s why I’m really interested to see what we can do, how our midfield matches up.
“I’m not sure if Cavani is going to be starting, but they have quality strikers. No matter who it is, whether it’s Darwin [Nunez] or Cavani, it’s really high-level players. For us, it’s going to be a great challenge.”