The U.S. national team earned a 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday, but it may have come at a cost as midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of the match in the second half with an ankle injury.
That form has seen the 20-year-old also become a key member of the USMNT squad.
Thursday's match was his first under new manager Gregg Berhalter, who chose to use McKennie in an advanced role in his midfield, playing beside Christian Pulisic and in front of Wil Trapp in a three-man setup.
His night came to a crushing end just over an hour in however.
Having put in a workman-like showing, at one point making an 80-yard recovery run to kill off an Ecuador attack, the midfielder appeared to severely roll his ankle as he came down to ground from an aerial challenge on Felipe Caicedo.
After leaving the pitch the midfielder was carried off on a stretcher, leading to fears that the injury could see him miss time for both club and country.
Weston McKennie being taken off on a stretcher. Hate to see that, hopefully it’s just an ankle sprain. Would imagine he’s out for the Chile match, and at minimum a few weeks. #USMNT pic.twitter.com/6O8nUberqg— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) March 22, 2019
The USA will be back in action Tuesday against Chile, while Schalke face a crucial tie with fellow struggler Hannover to close out the month of March.
Depending on the outcome, it could be a major blow to both teams, with the midfielder set to undergo tests on the knock.
“This was a strange play, where he went up for the header and the opponent didn’t go up and challenge and he bent over and that resulted in Weston tumbling over him and twisting his ankle," Berhalter said after the match. "We hope that it’s not as severe as it could be and we’re going to get it re-evaluated tonight."
Schalke has just nine matches left in its Bundesliga season to ensure survival in the German top flight, while Tuesday's match represents a rate chance for Berhalter's side to play together ahead of the Gold Cup this summer as the USA looks to rebound from the disaster of missing out on the 2018 World Cup.
Midfield teammate Tyler Adams offered his support after the match and says he's sure the midfielder will bounce back.
"He’ll keep his head up and he’ll come back stronger," Adams said. "But in the end we’ll have to hope it’s nothing serious."