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Sergiño Dest’s Injury Couldn’t Have Come At A Worse Time

The American fullback will miss some of the biggest games of the year.

Where is Sergiño Dest for El Clásico and the USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier? Unfortunately, ahead of what was going to be the biggest week of his career, an untimely Sergiño Dest injury is keeping the U.S. and Barcelona fullback off the pitch. Fortunately, he won’t be out for too long. 

Dest, a 21-year-old with 17 caps and two goals for the USMNT, was set to play at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid in Europe’s biggest rivalry on Sunday followed by a trip to the famed Azteca Stadium for World Cup qualifying against Mexico on Thursday. It would’ve been one of the most incredible weeks for any American soccer player, as Dest is still the only American to play in El Clásico

Instead, Dest will be watching from the sidelines after hobbling off injured during Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Galatasaray in the Europa League on Thursday. Hours before Gregg Berhalter unveiled his USMNT roster for next week’s vital World Cup qualifiers, Dest strained his hamstring making a goal-saving tackle.

Sergiño Dest Injury vs. Galatasaray 

Dest even received a piggyback ride from teammate Gavi on the way to the team bus after the match, never a good sign for an athlete to not be able to walk.

On Friday, Barcelona confirmed a left biceps femoris injury. 

Where Is Sergiño Dest?

How long will the Sergiño Dest injury keep him out? According to AS, the strain will require a minimum of three weeks recovery time. 

This means Dest will miss El Clásico and the final three of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying matches. The U.S. plays at Mexico on March 24, hosts Panama on March 27 and travels to Costa Rica on March 30. 

Barcelona is hopeful Dest will return soon after the international break, with some big matches slated for early April. Barça hosts Sevilla on April 3 before two meetings from April 7-14 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals. Dest was finally becoming a player coach Xavi could rely on after a rocky start to the coach’s tenure.

As for Dest’s next chance with the USMNT, that might come during the first four Concacaf Nations League matches this summer (June 2-14). The injury doesn’t appear significant enough to keep him out of the World Cup in November (should the U.S. qualify), but there’s always a worry about reaggravating a hamstring injury.

The injury is a big blow for the USMNT, as Dest has become one of the Americans’ best fullbacks despite his youth. While not always the best defender, he provides a lot going forward and has produced some spectacular goals for the U.S. 

After the Dest injury, Gregg Berhalter moved quickly to replace him on the USMNT roster for the upcoming qualifiers, bringing George Bello into the fold on Friday. Bello is a 20-year-old fullback for Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga with six caps. A lot of fans were hoping for 19-year-old Joe Scally of Borussia Mönchengladbach to get the call, but Berhalter decided it wasn’t the uncapped fullback’s time just yet despite his excellent play in Germany.

Another defender left off the roster is John Brooks. The lanky Wolfsburg defender hasn’t played for the national team since putting forth some disappointing performances in the September qualifiers. After recovering his form with Wolfsburg, he stated his desire to work as hard as possible to get back into the fold on Thursday.

“Months ago, I accepted responsibility for my play and the decision that kept me off a roster,” Brooks said. “Now, I’m happy I’ve regained my form but unfortunately I wasn’t invited to camp. I accept this as the coach’s decision, but I won’t accept that I can’t change this before the final World Cup roster selections. 

“There should be no questions about my desire to play for this team. My plan is to fight as hard as I can to make it back to the USMNT. My American identity is at stake, an identity some have questioned over many years. We (Americans) have all been down and out at different times, but we always fight back and I plan to do the same.”

While the USMNT has decent cover in the defender positions, the bigger worry for Berhalter during these March World Cup qualifiers will be dealing with the absence of Weston McKennie. The Juventus midfielder broke his foot in a Champions League match in February, and the Italian club confirmed earlier this month the Texan will miss the remainder of the season.

For more on how to watch the USMNT World Cup qualifiers, click here. For details on what the USMNT needs to do to qualify, click here

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