Fabian Johnson

Getty Images

Fabian Johnson misses Gladbach training with injury

Leave a comment

With John Brooks already out long-term due to a thigh injury, the United States may have another key injury to work around.

According to Borussia Monchengladbach manager Dieter Hecking, full-back/winger Fabian Johnson missed training on Friday due to an unspecified injury, and is now a question mark for Gladbach’s home match on Sunday against FC Koln. It could be nothing, but even the scare is cause for concern among U.S. fans.

Johnson has battled a few injuries the past couple of seasons, including a hamstring problem last spring that kept him out for nearly two months, including a pair of World Cup qualifiers in March.

Johnson’s absence would leave a hole at right-back for the United States. The 29-year-old has been deployed some at right wing for the USMNT, but he has been relatively poor at that position in the national setup, looking better when pushed further back where he is given more defensive duties, roaming forward with less frequency but more intent.

In place of Johnson, another converted winger in Graham Zusi has been seeing more time at right-back, but he offers less in the attack and lacks Johnson’s recovery speed, meaning mistakes by the Sporting KC veteran are punished more often.

Gladbach extends USMNT’s Johnson, praises “reliable character”

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
1 Comment

Fabian Johnson is going to keep going with Borussia Monchengladbach.

The USMNT veteran has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Foals through the 2019-20 season.

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks — Week 37 ]

Johnson, 29, has 13 goals and 18 assists in all competitions for Gladbach since arriving from Hoffenheim in 2014.

Gladbach is ninth in the Bundesliga this season, and Johnson has been limited to 19 league matches. The Foals have a 4W-3D-5L record without him.

The club is pleased to make the new deal:

“With his versatility on the pitch and his calm, reliable character in the dressing room, Fabian has developed into a leading player within the team,” said Borussia sporting director Max Eberl. “We’re delighted that he will be remaining with us for another three years.”

Johnson has played both wings and wide midfield positions this season, even seeing some time at center forward.

He’s returning to fitness from a six-week absence after suffering an injury against Schalke in the Europa League, a muscle injury which cost him time with the USMNT in March.

Fabian Johnson ruled out for USMNT’s upcoming WC qualifiers

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ahead of next week’s critical CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, Bruce Arena has been dealt a big blow.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 2 ]

Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder/defender Fabian Johnson has been ruled out of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s WCQs against Honduras and Panama after sustaining a thigh strain in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League defeat against Schalke.

Arena has named Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi as his replacement for Johnson to fill out the 24-man roster.

There is no timetable for Johnson’s return but it certainly leaves Arena in a difficult position in regards to his starting left back on March 24.

Although Johnson has been known to shift throughout the USMNT lineup during his time on international duty, the 26-year-old has largely locked down the left back position over recent matches.

Meanwhile, the USMNT will have similar difficulty finding a suitable starter at right back with Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin missing out on the upcoming fixtures due to a similar thigh problem.

Veteran outside back DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream and Jorge Villafana are currently Arena’s top options to fill the two outside back positions.

Europa League: Man United through, Schalke comes back, Roma out

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United cruised into the Europa League quarterfinals by knocking off a depleted FC Rostov side w1-0 at Old Trafford. The Russian side was so banged up, they could only name four players on the bench, and it showed, falling 2-1 on aggregate.

United pressed immediately, with Ibrahimovic hitting the post in just the fourth minute, and Juan Mata eventually struck in the 71st minute as he touched home a brilliant back-heel assist from Zlatan. There was a blow for the English side, however, as they lost Paul Pogba early in the second half to what appeared to be a hamstring injury, as the expensive midfielder limped down the tunnel in the 48th minute, replaced by Marouane Fellaini. Sergio Romero was required to preserve the lead, making a brilliant save with 11 minutes to go on a flicked header by Aleksandr Bukharov, and again on the final whistle to keep out a fantastic free-kick.

Borussia Monchengladbach coughed up a position of advancement as Schalke moved on to the quarters on away goals with a 3-3 aggregate scoreline. The match was highlighted by Mahmoud Daoud’s stunning goal from a great distance in front of the box, scored just ticks before halftime to give Gladbach a 2-0 lead. But Schalke came back to level things at 2-2 on goals from Leon Groetzka and Nabil Bentaleb in the second half, seeing them through thanks to the pair of away goals. Gladbach also suffered a key injury in the win, with American midfielder Fabian Johnson limping off as well, a big blow to the United States national team should he miss time.

Italian side AS Roma crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Lyon despite a 2-1 home win. The French club advanced largely thanks to their 4-2 first leg win, allowing them room for error in Italy. Kevin Strootman scored for Roma, and the eventual winner came on a Lyon own-goal, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback, and Lyon moves on to the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere, Besiktas advanced over Greek giants Olympiacos with a 4-1 home leg, winning 5-2 on aggregate. Vincent Aboubakar scored after just 10 minutes, and the Turkish side got a double from Ryan Babel to put them safely through. Aboubakar was sent off after 40 minutes for a headbutt, but instead of crumbling with the lead, Besiktas added two man-down goals to push them into the quarterfinals.

Ajax topped Copenhagen 2-0 to complete a comeback after falling 2-1 in the opening leg. Bertrand Traore scored 23 minutes in and Kasper Dolberg struck from the spot moments before halftime to put the Dutch side through. Belgian side Anderlecht moved on after backing up their first-leg clean sheet by winning 1-0 at home on a second-half goal by Frank Acheampong.

Spanish side Celta Vigo eased into the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win on the road in Russia. Hugo Mallo and Iago Aspas both scored for the Spaniards as they down Krasnodar 4-1 on aggregate. Finally, Racing Genk topped KAA Gent 6-3 on aggregate with a 1-1 draw in the all-Belgian matchup. Genk had gone up big 5-2 in the opening leg on the road, and they hit cruise control with Timothy Castagne’s 20th minute strike plenty to see them through.

Fabian Johnson forced off injured for Gladbach during Europa League

Leave a comment

Bruce Arena has yet to take charge of a competitive match for the United States after being hired late last year, but he’s already been dealt a double blow of injury news ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifiers in a week.

With in-form right-back DeAndre Yedlin already out with a hamstring tear, Arena may now be without Fabian Johnson who was forced off the field in the 16th minute of Borussia Monchengladbach’s Europa League match against Schalke with what appeared to be a hamstring injury of his own. With the United States set to play Honduras in just eight days, any hamstring problems for Johnson, however slight, would almost certainly rule him out of at least the first match, and likely even the second against Panama.

Johnson’s loss would be huge. The 29-year-old’s versatility is massive, and his ability to play both on the wing and at full-back gives Arena options with a thin list to choose from at both left and right-back. Still, Johnson plays on the left wing at Gladbach, and his attacking prowess is vital for a team that has struggled to produce consistent pressure on opponents in recent matches.

Players who could be brought in to replace Johnson should he miss out would include Benny Feilhaber or Sascha Kljestan, who are more central, but at least Kljestan could move out wide if in a pinch. Other options at a more defensive spot include Timmy Chandler and Greg Garza, or Graham Zusi if Arena looks to replace Johnson with a wide midfielder. Kellyn Acosta is another option, with the FC Dallas man in good form and able to play at either left or right-back, although he is preferred in a central/defensive midfield position.

There is no word yet from the club on the severity of the injury.