Brenden Aaronson scratched by Salzburg with knee issue

Midfielder Brenden Aaronson was scratched from RB Salzburg’s starting lineup about 10 minutes before its Austrian Bundesliga championship round match at Wolfsberg on Sunday, just four days before the U.S. begins the final stretch of World Cup qualifying.

“Last-minute change to our starting XI,” Salzburg said in a tweet. “Brenden Aaronson had to pull out due to knee problems, unfortunately.”

The U.S. Soccer Federation said Aaronson will report as planned on Monday to Houston, where the American team will train before traveling to Mexico City.

The 21-year-old from Medford, New Jersey, is the only U.S. player to appear in all 11 qualifiers, starting seven. He scored against Canada and Honduras in September.

Aaronson has three goals in 21 league matches this season.

The U.S. is missing midfielder Weston McKennie (two broken bones in left foot), defender Sergiño Dest (strained left thigh) and goalkeeper Matt Turner (foot/ankle).

Seeking to return to the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the U.S. is at Mexico on Thursday, hosts Panama three days later at Orlando, Florida, and closes at Costa Rica on March 30.

Canada leads North and Central America and the Caribbean with 25 points and the U.S. is second with 21, ahead of Mexico on goal difference. Panama is fourth with 17 points, followed by Costa Rica with 16 and El Salvador with nine.

Two American goalkeepers on the roster for the qualifiers saw action Sunday.

Zack Steffen played his first match since Feb. 5, getting down to block Ché Adams’s 73rd minute point-blank shot as Manchester City won 4-1 at Southampton and advanced to the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Ethan Horvath made his sixth straight start for Nottingham Forest and came off his line in the 28th minute to bat away Roberto Firmino’s chip attempt in a 1-0 FA Cup win by visiting Liverpool.

In Germany, American midfielder Gio Reyna played his first 90-minute match since injuring his hamstring in the opening qualifier on Sept. 2. Reyna’s start for Borussia Dortmund in a 1-1 draw at Cologne was his first club start since Feb. 20 and only his second since Aug. 27.

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