Steffen's bad back keeps him from traveling to qualifier

·1 min read

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Zack Steffen did not travel to Ohio because of a recurrence of back tightness, leaving Matt Turner as the likely starter in goal for the United States in its World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Thursday night.

Steffen missed the Americans' opening qualifier at El Salvador on Sept. 2 because of back spasms, then tested positive for COVID-19 and also skipped the September matches against Canada and Honduras.

Turner started the first five qualifiers and Steffen the past three. The U.S. Soccer Federation said Steffen is day to day.

The 26-year-old Steffen is the backup to Ederson at Manchester City and has appeared in only one Premier League match this season. He did not dress for Saturday's 1-1 draw at Southampton.

Turner, 27, has not played a competitive match since Nov. 30, when New England was eliminated from Major League Soccer's playoffs with a penalty-kicks defeat to New York City. He was in goal for the United States' 1-0 exhibition win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Dec. 18.

Sean Johnson and Gabriel Slonina are the other goalkeepers on the U.S. roster for this trio of qualifiers, which include a Sunday match at Canada and a Feb. 2 game against Honduras at St. Paul, Minnesota.

Defender DeAndre Yedlin was the only other player not at training on Tuesday. The USSF said his flight from Istanbul on Monday was canceled and Yedlin was scheduled to travel on Tuesday.

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