The United States men’s national team will kick off the World Cup in only a few days against Wales on Nov. 21 and they’ve been handed an injury boost just in time. Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest have declared themselves fit for the match. McKennie has been on a rehab plan that was coordinated between Juventus and the national team staff but says he’s “all ready to go” as the team undergoes matchday preparation. Dest has been training to the side due to muscle fatigue from the U.S. scrimmage against Qatari side Al-Gharafa SC.
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That scrimmage has been called a training exercise by U.S. soccer but, according to ESPN, the team won 6-0. Dest is feeling great which is a positive sign because the team will need him at his best going forward against Wales.
McKennie has been missing in action since the beginning of November for Juventus but has been building up his fitness.
“The week has gone good,” McKennie said. “Obviously in my personal position or how I’m doing or how I am in terms of recovery, I came in good, I came in at a pace that was controlled. Juventus and the national team, they were both working together to make sure that I’m 100 percent fit here. So I came in, did a couple days of just maintaining and keep it under control. We played the friendly the other day, and I felt good. I felt ready to go, and that’s where I’m at.”
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McKennie is one of the most important players to the national team so having him fit to go from the first group stage match is quite a boon for the United States. Driving forward, he is unpredictable enough to break down a strong Wales defense or at least pull them apart so that the other attackers have space to operate.
Playing against a back three that at times will fall into a back five, Dest and McKennie will have space to get forward as long as they pick the right passes. It’s important with England and Iran also lurking in Group B that the USMNT are able to open play with at least a point or they could face an uphill battle.