United States forward Tim Weah was unable to travel to Canada for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier because he did not meet the vaccination requirements to cross the Canadian border, the American men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter said Saturday.
Weah, who was involved in the play that led to the winning goal in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over El Salvador, has received one vaccine dose and was infected with COVID-19 before he could receive his second shot, Berhalter said.
Weah meets the vaccination standards in France, where he plays professionally with Lille, but is unable to enter Canada, Berhalter said.
Berhalter said the team became aware of Weah’s situation “a couple of days ago” and had hoped it could be resolved before Sunday’s 3 p.m. game in Hamilton, Ontario.
“This was a nuanced technicality that we were hoping was going to get pushed through and, unfortunately, it didn’t,” Berhalter said.
Berhalter also said that full back Brooks Lennon has returned to his MLS club, Atlanta United, to be “evaluated for a slight ankle injury” with an update expected “in the next couple of days.”
Weah’s absence means he will miss the opportunity to face off against Canadian forward Jonathan David, his teammate with defending French league champions Lille. David scored Canada’s second goal in Thursday’s 2-0 win in Honduras.
“That’s my guy,” Weah said of David after Thursday’s game in Columbus, Ohio. “We always go at it. Most importantly, I love watching him succeed. Great guy, one of my best friends on the team. I wish nothing but success for him.
“Seeing what he’s been doing has really been great, and it’s pushed me to work even harder. Having that brotherhood, we really like to compete a lot. We’ve been waiting for this game the whole year, we’ve been talking about it, we’ve been joking about who’s going to win, who’s going to score.”
Weah did not play for Lille between Dec. 1 and Jan. 19 because of a quadriceps injury. He missed a 1-1 draw against Canada last September because of a thigh injury that sidelined him between Aug. 21 and Sept. 18.
Canada is undefeated through nine games and leads the group, one point ahead of the U.S. in second and two points ahead of Mexico in third. Panama is in fourth place, five points behind Canada.