Fabian Johnson ruled out of U.S. World Cup qualifiers, replaced by Graham Zusi

Thursday March 16th, 2017

Days after being announced as part of Bruce Arena's roster for the USA's World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama, Fabian Johnson has been ruled out with a fresh injury and has been replaced by Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi.

Johnson was injured early in Borussia Monchengladbach's Europa League ouster vs. Bundesliga foe Schalke on Thursday, exiting in the 16th minute with a thigh strain that the club said would keep him out for an undetermined period of time. 

Johnson, a veteran of the 2014 World Cup team who can play either in the midfield or at outside back for the U.S., was diagnosed with the injury by Monchengladbach on Friday. His absence is a big blow for Arena's side, with points a huge priority after November losses to Mexico and Costa Rica put the Americans in an 0-2-0 hole.

Planet Futbol
With USMNT roster set, Arena surveys options, has big right back question

The U.S. is already thin at the fullback positions, with DeAndre Yedlin and Eric Lichaj being forced to miss out through injury and Timmy Chandler left behind because he's suspended for the Honduras match.

Jorge Villafana, Tim Ream, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco, Geoff Cameron and now Zusi are the options available to Arena at outside back. A midfielder by trade, Zusi was given a run out at right back during U.S. January camp and has begun the MLS season playing there for Sporting KC. Like Johnson, he boasts the versatility to be deployed in the midfield. Zusi is also a candidate to take set pieces for the U.S.

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