- Robinson missed World Cup after Achilles rupture
- 35-year-old Ream filled in and impressed
- But Atlanta defender ready to rejoin team
WHAT HAPPENED? The 26-year-old center back made a name for himself for his performances at Atlanta United and looked set to be one of the USMNT's stars in Qatar. But a ruptured Achilles in May 2022 prevented that dream, keeping him sidelined for almost nine months. Now back to full fitness, the Massachusetts-born defender opened up on his difficult spell on the sidelines and said he couldn't wait to get back to the action.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I watched most of the World Cup from my couch with my family," Robinson explained in a press conference. "It was tough at some moments, but obviously I'm cheering on these guys. We worked hard together qualifying and I was happy to see them succeed in the World Cup. So it was great for me to watch them.
"It was definitely tough at some moments, more mentally than physically. I think the first few months when you can't really walk is definitely tough. And then towards the end when I could get out on the field, but [was stuck] watching the World Cup was also, mentally pretty tough. But I use it for motivation at this point. I'm so grateful to be back out here with this team."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Robinson's Atlanta sit top of the MLS league table with 10 points from their opening four matches and have conceded just three goals. But the 26-year-old's stand-in at the World Cup, Tim Ream - who nearly declined the call from Gregg Berhalter - has been on similar scintillating form for Fulham.
The 35-year-old went on to make his first ever major tournament appearance for the Stars and Stripes in Qatar and largely impressed as Berhalter's side were eliminated at the last-16 stage. While Ream has admitted that he has not yet given up hope for the 2026 World Cup on home soil, it would seem that, barring further drastic injury, Robinson will be a bigger part of the future of the USMNT's backline.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
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WHAT NEXT FOR ROBINSON? The Atlanta defender will get his first taste of international football since March 2022 when the USMNT come up against Granada in its first of two Nations League fixtures, which kicks off on Friday night.