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Weston McKennie provides injury update ahead of USMNT

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The US men’s national team is gearing up for their 2022 FIFA World Cup debut against Wales on Monday, November 21. 

After failing to qualify for the 2018 edition of the tournament, the American side is finally back on the international stage. Gregg Berhalter’s team concluded the Concacaf cycle in third on the table, managing 25 points in 14 to place behind Canada and Mexico and clinch the final slot. 

“Three years, four years of just working up to this moment,” midfielder Weston McKennie told reporters in Saturday night’s matchday one press conference before the USMNT’s training session at Al-Gharafa Stadium.“I think all the guys are ready to go and the staff is ready to go and put a good game plan together. So hopefully we execute that and get the three points on Monday.”

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Weston McKennie suffered a quadriceps injury in late October that sidelined him in the weeks leading up to the international tournament, adding to the team’s concerns. He featured sporadically for Juventus from September to November, nursing a couple knocks. 

But the player has since confirmed he feels good heading into Monday’s match. 

“The week has gone good,” he said of this injury. “I came in at a pace that was controlled by Juventus and by the national team, they were both working together to make sure that I’m 100% fit here. So I came and did a couple of days of just maintaining and keeping it under control. And yeah, we played a friendly game the other day and I felt good, felt ready to go.”

McKennie referred to the USMNT’s scrimmage with Al-Gharafa SC on Thursday as the “friendly”, though team officials insist the match stands as a “training exercise.”

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“It was a great scrimmage. We definitely got a lot out of it defensively, offensively. Finishing attacks was great. Obviously we had a couple goals in there, to get the guys confident in front of the net,” said defender Aaron Long.

Several USMNT figures added the scrimmage was necessary to build momentum, after failing to see time on the pitch. Sergino Dest, another player that faced injury concerns before heading to Qatar, boasted Thursday’s importance by revealing he felt fatigue in his last competitive match with AC Milan.

“Personally I’m feeling good. Of course after the last [AC Milan] game I had a little bit of fatigue [but] right now it’s going well,” said Dest. “I’m ready to play. With the team, you know, we’re really high for the game, we’re all really concentrated. Yeah, the game against Wales is really important, so we’ve got to get everything out of it on the pitch.”

The players’ sights are set on Monday’s match, a make or break moment for the USMNT before taking on England and Iran. But the team remains confident. 

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“We know that we’re a strong team and inside of our bubble, we try not to let anything inside,” said Long. “So just limiting distractions from the outside as much as we can and focusing on ourselves and focusing on this first game against Wales.

“We understand that this is a dream of ours and to live in the moment and to not take it for granted. But to also know that we’re not playing for just ourselves or our team or our coaches or our families – we’re playing for a whole nation. So we have that responsibility on us.”



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Monterrey signs midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Puebla

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Rayados de Monterrey have signed midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Club Puebla, ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura. 

He joins the Guadalajara team on a four-season contract, according to Diego Armando Medina of TUDN.

“I have been delighted since the opportunity to come here was given, I always knew that I had to make a leap to these big leagues with one of the biggest clubs in Mexico,” Cortizo said of his transfer. 

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Cortizo kicked off his professional career with Queretaro in 2017, recording four goals in 76 appearances over the course of three years before seeing stints with Tijuana and Puebla. He managed well in Liga MX, but it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout. 

The offensive midfielder recorded five goals in 20 overall matches to inspire Puebla to eighth on the table and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, Cortizo has 12 goals in 149 Liga MX appearances. 

“They are going to see a player who always tries, that will never fail, who will go for the ball, will try to play, propose offensive play, go forward and who will always give himself up for the club. It is my dream to be champion of the Liga MX, there is no better option today than to be sitting here and with this squad to achieve it,” he said.

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Cortizo stands as the first signing under new Monterrey president Jose Antonio Noriega, who replaced Duilio Davino  following the team’s elimination from the 2022 Apertura. Upon his arrival, Noriega insisted he needed to evaluate the team’s needs before making drastic changes. 

But the arrival of Jordi Cortizo will now set off the several moves already planned. 

The 2023 Liga MX Clausura kicks off on January 6.



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Club America sign defender Israel Reyes from Puebla

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Club America has finally signed defender Israel Reyes from Club Puebla.

He stands as the team’s first reinforcement ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura, joining on a four-year contract.  The Mexico City team reportedly paid $4.5M for Reyes, after he established himself as one of the most promising defenders in the Mexican league.

Reyes kicked off his professional career with Atlas in 2019, before quickly securing a loan deal to Puebla. After 19 games with the Franja, the team exercised his purchase option to make Reyes a staple of the backline. 

But it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout in the Mexican league. The 22-year-old managed three goals in 17 games of the 2022 Apertura, inspiring Puebla to eighth place in the regular season and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, he recorded six goals in 76 appearances with Puebla before joining Club America.

Internationally, the player holds one cap with the Mexican national team. He made his debut on December 8, 2021, coming on as a substitute in the 68th minute of a friendly against Chile.

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

On Sunday, England and Senegal, their opponents in the last-16 of the World Cup, square off at Al Bayt Stadium in a battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The Three Lions take on the Lions of Teranga, who advanced to the knockout stages thanks to a crucial intervention from their captain, in a first-ever meeting after Gareth Southgate’s team defeated Wales to win Group B.

Line-up

England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Saka, Foden, Kane.  

Senegal XI: E. Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; Ciss, N. Mendy; Diatta, Ndiaye, Sarr; Dia. 

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