US striker Tim Weah was unable to travel to Canada for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier because he failed to meet vaccination requirements to cross the Canadian border, US men’s team head coach Gregg Berhalter said on Saturday.
Weah, who was involved in the game that led to the winning goal in Thursday’s 1-0 win over El Salvador, received one vaccine dose and was infected with COVID-19 before he could get his second shot, Berhalter said.
Weah meets vaccination standards in France, where he plays professionally with Lille, but cannot enter Canada, Berhalter said.
Berhalter said the team became aware of Weah’s situation “a few days ago” and had hoped it could be resolved before Sunday’s 3 p.m. game in Hamilton, Ontario.
“This was a nuanced technical detail that we hoped would go through, but unfortunately it didn’t,” Berhalter said.
Berhalter also said full back Brooks Lennon has returned to his MLS club, Atlanta United, to be “evaluated for a minor ankle injury” with an update expected “in the coming days”.
Weah’s absence means he will miss the opportunity to take on Canadian forward Jonathan David, his teammate with defending French champions Lille. David scored Canada’s second goal in Thursday’s 2-0 win in Honduras.
“That’s my man,” Weah said of David after Thursday’s game in Columbus, Ohio. “We always go for it. The most important thing is that I like to see him succeed. Great guy, one of my best friends in the team. I wish him nothing but success.”
“Seeing what he did was really amazing, and it pushed me to work even harder. With that brotherhood, we really like to compete a lot. We’ve been waiting all year for this game, we’ve We talked about it, we joked about who’s going to win, who’s going to score.”
Weah did not play for Lille between December 1 and January 19 due to a quadriceps injury. He missed a 1-1 draw against Canada last September due to a thigh injury that kept him sidelined between August 21 and September 18.
Canada is nine games unbeaten and leads the group, one point ahead of the US in second place and two points over Mexico in third place. Panama is in fourth place, five points behind Canada.