After being suspended for two games for violating the team’s COVID-19 agreement, Weston McKenney refused to speak to reporters after returning to the US national team.
The 23-year-old Juventus midfielder was eliminated by coach Gregg Berhalter in the World Cup qualifiers against Canada and Honduras last month for violation of the rules, and then played against Jamaica last week. He made a comeback and played the entire game.
McKenney missed Sunday’s loss in Panama due to a quadriceps injury. He trained in Columbus with left back Anthony Robinson and goalkeeper Zach Stephen. The US team will face Costa Rica in Columbus on Wednesday night.
Berhalt said that McKenney has accepted the responsibility, and the players and the team have gotten rid of disciplinary issues.
“In terms of his availability to the media, this is a personal choice, and I support Weston,” Berhalt said on Tuesday.
“This is a decision he has to make on his own, and it is the case. He is now focused on the court, and I think he showed his strength in the game against Jamaica on Thursday night, which shows that he is focused on helping the ball. The team wins and does its job well, I can’t ask anything else.”
Richard Mozkin, McKenney’s agent, declined to comment. Berhalt announced after the game against Canada on September 5 that McKenney had violated the rules and did not dress for the game, and stated that the players would be sent home, but the coach did not elaborate.
“When this whole thing happened. I think we were very candid about the situation without going into details,” Berhalt said.
“I think we are talking about it in general, and this is what the team is about. And I don’t think it’s our job to disclose everything to the media. I think we are very frank about what happened and the consequences of what happened. He is responsible for what happened. Then as far as he and us, or as far as we are concerned, this is where we are headed.”
Berhalt is not sure whether McKenny and Robinson can participate in Wednesday’s game.
“When we talk about Weston’s identity, we are collecting information,” Berhalt said. “He pushed a little yesterday, signs that he is making progress, but we must see it in today’s training.”
Robinson did not travel to Panama because the UK’s COVID-19 agreement required him to be isolated when returning to the UK, where he played for Fulham.
He revealed on Tuesday that he also had a minor knee problem involving physical therapy and intensive treatment.
“He is another person we will test in training,” Berhalt said. “Now we don’t have enough information to make this decision.”