McKennie, Johnson get starts for US in exhibition vs Uruguay

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Midfielder Weston McKennie made his first start for club and country since breaking a foot on Feb. 22 and Sean Johnson was in goal for the United States for the first time in more than two years for Sunday’s exhibition against Uruguay.

In the second of four World Cup warmups this month, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made four changes from the lineup that started Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Morocco.

McKennie broke two bones in his left foot while playing for Juventus and had made two appearances since then, for the final 15 minutes of his club’s season finale on May 21 and for 19 minutes against Morocco.

Johnson took over in goal from Matt Turner in his 10th international appearance going back to 2011, his first since a February 2020 exhibition against Costa Rica. Johnson is competing with Turner, Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath for three roster spots. Steffen withdrew from the roster for what the U.S. Soccer Federation called “family reasons” and was replaced by Johnson.

The 15th-ranked U.S. started right back DeAndre Yedlin in place of Reggie Cannon and left back Joe Scally in place of Antonee Robinson. McKennie replaced Brenden Aaronson.

Scally made his first start following his debut Wednesday.

Sergiño Dest, the first-choice right back, is recovering from a right hamstring injury.

Holdovers include central defenders Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman, defensive midfielder Tyler Adams, central midfielder Yunus Musah, wingers Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah and forward Jesús Ferreira.

Adams captained the U.S. for the ninth time.

Long started his second straight match as he tries to earn a starting job after Miles Robinson tore his left Achilles.

Turner, defender George Bello and midfielder Cristian Roldan did not dress.

The U.S. plays 170th-ranked Grenada on Friday at Austin, Texas, in its World Cup sendoff, the first of two CONCACAF Nations League matches, then plays June 14 at No. 74 El Salvador. The Americans plan two September exhibitions in Europe, then return to the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament. They open Group B in Qatar on Nov. 21 against Wales, play England four days later and close the first round against Iran on Nov. 29.

No. 13 Uruguay was coming off a 3-0 exhibition win over Mexico on a goal by Matias Vecino and two by Edinson Cavani. Uruguay plays South Korea, Portugal and Ghana in Group H.

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