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Schalke issue injury update on USMNT’s McKennie

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Weston McKennie is set to miss a significant chunk of Schalke’s impending relegation battle after the 20-year-old midfielder badly rolled his ankle during the U.S. men’s national team’s victory over Ecuador on Thursday, the Bundesliga club revealed on Friday.

[ MORE: USMNT star Tyler Adams leaves camp to return to RB Leipzig ]

McKennie was forced off in the 68th minute, not long after he went up for an aerial challenge and landed on the outside of his left foot, causing to the ankle to violently roll over.

From Schalke’s official statement:

“The U.S. (men’s) national team confirmed to Schalke that he hasn’t broken anything, but it looks like he has bruised the bone and damaged a ligament. He will soon see a foot specialist in the U.S. to determine the exact nature of the injury.”

While Schalke didn’t provide an estimated timeframe for McKennie’s return, Tottenham Hotspur and England forward Harry Kane has suffered a series of ankle injuries quite similar to that of McKennie over the past two or three seasons. Kane has generally been out of action for 6-10 weeks, with an additional 2-4 weeks of live action typically required to regain his full form and fitness. For USMNT purposes, the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on June 15, 12 weeks from today.

Schalke currently sit 15th in the Bundesliga, three points and one spot clear of the relegation playoff spot, with eight games left to play.

Rising USMNT star Tyler Adams leaves camp to return to Leipzig

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Tyler Adams was the topic of conversation before and after the U.S. men’s national team’s friendly with Ecuador on Thursday, and those 90 minutes will be all we see of the 20-year-old rising star during this international window.

[ MORE: Gyasi Zardes goal pushes USMNT to victory over Ecuador ]

Adams departed USMNT camp on Friday, set to return to RB Leipzig in Germany, before the rest of the team travels to Houston to take on Chile in Houston on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Jonathan Gonzalez also left to return to his club, FC Dallas.

Midfielder Weston McKennie, who suffered what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury during the second half on Thursday, will remain with the team for further evaluation but it is highly unlikely he will be available on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USMNT’s 1-0 victory over Ecuador ]

The majority of the discussion around Adams heading into the first full-team camp and fixture of the Gregg Berhalter era centered around his positional deployment: right back-ish. In Berhalter’s system, the “right back” is not only giving a mostly free rein to roam forward, but also inside to a more central position.

It’s a role which, on the surface, appears to suit Adams’ highly versatile skillset and puts one of the Yanks’ most influential players in a position to amass an obscene number of touches on the ball.

While it’s still extremely early in Berhalter’s tenure, and it would be advantageous to grow the familiarity and continuity of the USMNT’s next generation, Adams has quickly become an important player at Leipzig, where the vast majority of his development will occur in the coming months and years. Remaining in good favor, and available for game action, is the best thing he can do his for own career at this point.

Raphael Wicky hired as US under-17 head coach

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CHICAGO (AP) Former Basel coach Raphael Wicky has been hired to replace John Hackworth as coach of the U.S. under-17 team.

The 41-year-old former defensive midfielder made 75 appearances for Switzerland from 1996-08 and was on the roster for the World Cup in 2006 and the European Championship in 1996 and 2004. He played for Sion (1993-97, 2007), Werder Bremen (1997-00), Atletico Madrid (2001), Hamburg (2001-07) and Chivas USA (2008).

After coaching youth teams at Thun, Servette and Basel, he led Basel to the Champions League round of 16 in 2017-18, then was fired just before the start of this season.

Hackworth left last August to coach second-tier Louisville.

Wicky’s hiring was announced Friday by Nico Romejin, the USSF’s chief sport development officer. The U.S. is preparing for qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup in Bradenton, Florida, where the Americans play Canada on May 2, Barbados two days later and Guatemala on May 6.

Rapinoe, Heath lead USWNT back to draw England (video)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tobin Heath scored off her own rebound in the 67th minute, and the United States tied England 2-2 on Saturday in the SheBelieves Cup for the Americans’ second draw in two games in the tournament.

Megan Rapinoe, who also scored the 43rd goal of her career in the 33rd minute, started the tying goal with a corner kick. Alex Morgan passed the ball to Heath whose first kick was stopped by defender Rachel Daly, and Heath scored off the rebound for her 26th career goal.

The Americans nearly pulled out a victory. Julie Ertz’s header went off the bar at the end of the 77th minute, and they had a flurry of passes deep in the 90th minute without a shot on net.

Steph Houghton tied it up on a free kick in the 36th minute, and Nikita Parris gave England a 2-1 lead.

The U.S. now is 10-4-2 all-time against England, though the teams avoided the 1-0 score of their last four meetings. The Americans had won three of those, and Saturday they wore the names of women who have inspired them on the back of their shirts.

Japan beat Brazil 3-1 in the opening match of Saturday’s doubleheader in the second part of this round-robin tournament featuring four of the world’s top 10 teams. This tuneup for the Women’s World Cup, which starts June 7 in France, concludes Tuesday night in Tampa, Florida, where the United States will play Brazil, while England plays Japan.

The Americans are 3-0-1 at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, this time before a crowd of 22,125 on a cloudy, chilly day.

Kelley O’Hara passed the ball into the box where Daly tried to clear with a header. Rapinoe corralled the ball, then boomed a volley over the head of keeper Karen Bardsley for a 1-0 lead.

Houghton tied it up on a free kick , curling the ball past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Adrianna Franch in her first cap for the Americans.

Alex Morgan came up just shy of her 100th goal late in the first half.

Fran Kirby found Parris with a pass, then she dribbled once before beating Franch in the 52nd minute to give England the lead, putting the pressure on the Americans who won their first three visits to this stadium.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis started substituting soon after, sending in Christen Press for Mallory Pugh, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who sat out the Americans’ 2-2 tie against Japan in the opener of this tournament with an injury, replaced Rose Lavelle in the 61st minute. Ellis said Friday that Sauerbrunn was “highly unlikely” to play in Nashville.

MLS, RSL legend Rimando announces 2019 will be final season

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Nick Rimando has done everything a goalkeeper could possibly do during his 19-year MLS career… except win the ever-elusive Goalkeeper of the Year award, of course.

[ MORE: 2019 Western Conference preview | Eastern Conference ]

Inarguably the greatest goalkeeper in league history — given the heights he reached at the position, both figuratively and literally; the way he revolutionized the position in MLS and made everyone rethink how a goalkeeper could look and play; and the longevity with which he did all of it — Rimando announced on Friday that the 2019 season, his 20th, will be his last. He will retire next winter at the age of 40.

Rimando, already the MLS record holder for career clean sheets, wins, saves, and appearances, is a two-time MLS Cup winner (2004, D.C. United; 2009, Real Salt Lake) and five-time All-Star (2011-2015). He was voted MLS Cup MVP in 2009. Two factors — his 5-foot-10 height, and the parallel careers of stalwarts Tim Howard and Brad Guzan — limited Rimando to just 22 caps for the U.S. men’s national team.

[ MORE: Predicting the 2019 MLS season | Growth is still the name of the game ]

While the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award should be renamed in his honor, Rimando won the award despite setting the standard for MLS ‘keepers for nearly a decade.