US keeper Steffen misses 4th straight game for Middlesbrough

American goalkeeper Zack Steffen missed his fourth straight game for Middlesbrough, raising doubt whether he will be available for the United States’ last two warmup matches ahead of the World Cup.

The 27-year-old has not played since Aug. 20, Middlesbrough’s fifth match of the season, due to a knee injury. Liam Roberts, who joined Middlebrough this season from fourth-tier Northampton, started in his place again against Cardiff on Tuesday night, and Luke Daniels was on the bench.

The last two World Cup prep matches for the 13th-ranked Americans are against No. 23 Japan on Sept. 23 at Düsseldorf, Germany, and 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia four days later at Murcia, Spain. American coach Gregg Berhalter plans to announce his roster for the exhibitions on Wednesday.

Steffen went on loan to second-tier Middlesbrough from Premier League Manchester City in hopes of gaining playing time ahead of the World Cup. He played in just nine matches last season for Manchester City, where he is Ederson’s backup — one Premier League game along with four in the FA Cup, two League Cup, one Champions League and the Community Shield.

Steffen, from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is competing for a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster with Matt Turner, who is Aaron Ramsdale’s backup at Arsenal; Ethan Horvath, who was loaned from Nottingham Forest to second-tier Luton for this season; and New York City’s Sean Johnson.

Berhalter plans to announce his 26-man World Cup roster on Nov. 9.

The U.S. opens the World Cup in Qatar against 20th-ranked Wales on Nov. 21, plays No. 5 England in a Black Friday matchup four days later and closes group play on Nov. 29 against 21st-ranked Iran.

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