The two Americans are splitting time in one position on the club level as they make their return to the international stage.
Weston McKennie said it in a joking tone, with his trademark smile on his face, but there was truth to his statement. Sat next to Tim Weah, his club and international teammate, McKennie offered a blunt assessment of their careers right now, all while managing to poke fun at the irony of the situation.
“You’re looking at the starting right wing-back and the backup right wing-back right now!” he quipped. And that really is the best way to describe it right now. The current situation at Juventus sees the two U.S. men’s national team stars competing for the same spot, one which neither of them are expected to play on the international level. Both McKennie and Weah see the fun in it all, and both are seemingly enjoying the chance to compete with and against someone that they’ve long called a friend.
It’s a fun, short-term subplot. Weah, Juve’s big summer signing, is expected to play in that wingback spot for years to come after the departure of Juan Cuadrado. McKennie, recently returned from his loan spell at Leeds, is hoping to play his way back into a long-term future in the midfield. In the here and now, if you tune into a Juve game, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see a USMNT star on the field making things happen on that right-hand side.
That’s the short-term, though. What about the long? As both McKennie and Weah prepare for this 2026 World Cup cycle, there are questions about where and how they’ll fit in with this USMNT. The 2022 cycle is over, and both played massive parts in the leadup to and after the World Cup but, as they both adjust to their own situations at the club level, their adaptation back to the USMNT is one of the storylines to watch throughout the coming year leading up to the Copa America.