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Schalke and USMNT midfielder McKennie ruptures ankle ligament

2:53 am AEDT 26/3/19
Weston McKennie USMNT injury 03222019
The Bundesliga club have announced that the midfielder will miss time as feared after going down in action while on international duty

United States midfielder Weston McKennie suffered a ruptured ankle ligament in the nation's friendly win over Ecuador, his club Schalke have confirmed.

McKennie was stretchered off in the second half of Thursday's 1-0 win in Orlando, although he remained with the USMNT squad as they travelled to Houston to face Chile.

However, a source confirmed to Goal on Saturday that McKennie would depart prior to the Tuesday match, with USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter later confirming the midfielder would miss the contest against La Roja.

Schalke announced Monday the 20-year-old was travelling back to Gelsenkirchen to begin rehabilitation after the extent of his injury was confirmed, with no time table for his return given.

McKennie was handed the start in Berhalter's first match with the full complement of USMNT players available to him, and played along Christian Pulisic and Wil Trapp in a three-man midfield.

However, the Schalke man landed awkwardly after going up for an aerial duel with Ecuador's Felipe Caicedo, rolling his ankle and being forced off in the 68th minute.

A deflected shot from Gyasi Zardes in the 81st minute would prove the difference as the USMNT came away with the 1-0 victory.

McKennie has scored one goal and added four assists in 19 Bundesliga appearances this season for a Schalke side mired in 15th place, just three points above the relegation playoff.

He played a further six matches in the Champions League, adding a goal an assist, as his side went out in the round of 16 to Manchester City

While McKennie has been a bright spot in a difficult season for Schalke, he has suffered from a fair share of injury problems during his time in Germany.

The midfielder missed over three months in the 2016-17 season with a foot fracture, over a month in 2017-18 with a medial collateral ligament sprain in his knee, as well has having various muscle injuries that have sidelined him for brief periods during the past two campaigns.

The injury deprives Schalke of their versatile midfielder as they look to break a eight-game winless run and a six-match losing streak that cost former manager Domenico Tedesco his job following their elimination from the Champions League.

The club returns to action on March 31 with a visit to 17th-placed Hannover, in a match that carries heavy implications for the Bundesliga relegation battle, followed by a DFB-Pokal quarterfinal against Werder Bremen midweek. 

Meanwhile Berhalter's USMNT will also be without Tyler Adams against Chile as the RB Leipzig midfielder returned to his club following the Ecuador match .

Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez also returned to FC Dallas and started for the MLS side on Saturday in a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids