USMNT face tough task of finding Sergiño Dest replacement for Copa América

United States men’s national team fans received devastating news that star right back Sergiño Dest is expected to miss this summer’s Copa América after suffering a major knee injury.

PSV announced that Dest will miss the rest of the season with The Athletic reporting the American will be out nine months and might not return for a year.

There’s no official injury given yet, however many fans assume it’s an ACL tear.

With Dest out injured the USMNT will need to find a replacement. We think it’s unlikely that USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will stray away from his preferred 4-3-3 formation meaning a new right back is needed.

Let’s look at the USMNT right backs department.

USMNT right backs to replace Dest

Joe Scally

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The clear choice for replacing Dest is Joe Scally. The 21-year-old Gladbach defender did so in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal against Jamaica this year when Dest was out with suspension.

Scally has just nine appearances for the national team and has been shaky at times. He was substituted at halftime vs. Jamaica. With 20+ starts in the Bundesliga this season he’s still the next-best option.

Bryan Reynolds

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Bryan Reynolds has more starts at right back in Europe than anyone else on this list. The 22-year-old has been the go-to starter for Westerlo who finished mid-table in the Belgian Pro League regular season.

The Olympics could be a conflict as Reynolds looks like a likely candidate for the U23 squad that will compete in Paris this summer.

Reggie Cannon

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Remember Reggie Cannon? The 25-year-old made 28 appearances for the USMNT from 2018 through 2022. His last game for the national team was on June 14, 2022, when the USMNT tied El Salvador 1-1 in the Concacaf Nations League.

Cannon had a falling out with Portuguese club Boavista before landing at EFL Championship side Queens Park Rangers in September. Cannon was starting games consistently at the start of 2024 but has lost the starting job and benched for 11 games spanning from Feb. 17 up to April 20 for QPR.

DeAndre Yedlin

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We know how much Berhalter loves his players in Major League Soccer. With Dest out we wouldn’t be shocked for Berhalter to look at options in MLS. DeAndre Yedlin is by far the most experienced player of the bunch with 81 appearances for the USMNT.

Yedlin transferred from Inter Miami and has been with FC Cincinnati this season going the full 90 in nearly every game.

Shaq Moore

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Another MLS option is Moore who joined Nashville SC in 2022 after spending seven years playing in Spain.

Fans will unfortunately recognize Moore’s name for his poor cameos at the 2022 World Cup when he came on as a substitute against England and Iran.

Since the World Cup the 27-year-old has made just one appearance for the USMNT which was during a January friendly vs. Slovenia this year.

Other options

Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Chris Richards or Timothy Weah

One other option for Berhalter is to move one of the other starters to the right back position. Weston McKennie has proven over the course of his career that he’s a swiss-army knife and can play just about anywhere.

For the second half vs. Jamaica Berhalter subbed out Scally and moved McKennie to play as the right back.

If Tyler Adams is healthy then he could be another option for Berhalter. With the rise of defensive midfielder Johnny Cardoso, Adams could shift to right back where he has previous experience playing.

Chris Richards has shown for Crystal Palace this season that he’s a versatile player that can perform in various positions. Richards has played right back before and with several talented center backs for the USMNT he could shift to the right.

Timothy Weah is more of a long shot. He’s played a right wing back role with Juventus this season. We imagine Berhalter would prefer to have him playing as a right wing for the USMNT rather than a right back.

The good news for Berhalter is that he will have two games, friendlies vs. Colombia and Brazil, before Copa América to tinker with the right back position.

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