Pulisic back in US starting lineup vs Canada after COVID-19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Christian Pulisic was back in the U.S. starting lineup Sunday night for a World Cup qualifier against Canada, three days after missing the opener at El Salvador while regaining fitness following a positive COVID-19 test.

Pulisic played is first match since Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on Aug. 14. The 22-year-old attacker, the top U.S. player, missed Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Arsenal on Aug. 22 and a 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Aug. 28. He resumed training with the U.S. on Monday.

Gio Reyna strained his right hamstring and missed the match against Canada. He also won’t play at Honduras on Wednesday night, the U.S. Soccer Federation said.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made six changes from the starting lineup for Thursday’s 0-0 draw at El Salvador. In addition to Pulisic, newcomers included defender John Brooks, left back Antonee Robinson, midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Sebastian Lletget, and forward Jordan Pefork.

Sergiño Dest moved from left back to the right, Matt Turner stayed in goal, Miles Robinson remained in central defense, Tyler Adams in defensive midfield, and Brenden Aaaronson in advanced midfield.

Pulisic captained the U.S. for the sixth time, taking over from Adams. Miles Robinson and Brooks partnered in central defense for the first time.

Canada coach John Herdman made five changes from the starting lineup from Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Honduras in Toronto. He inserted defenders Scott Kennedy, Doneil Henry and Sam Adekugbe, midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye and forward Junior Hoilett.

Moving to the bench were defenders Kamal Miller and Steven Vitória, midfielder Atiba Hutchison and forwards Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David.

Canada’s five holdovers were goalkeeper Milan Borjan, defenders Alphonso Davies, Alistair Johnson and Richie Layrea and forward Cyle Larin.

Johnson was playing at his home stadium, of Major League Soccer’s Nashville team.

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