John Brooks ruled out of USMNT October qualifiers with back injury

John Brooks ruled out of USMNT October qualifiers with back injury

The U.S. men’s national team will already be without one veteran centerback for October’s World Cup Qualifying schedule and now will be without a second.

John Brooks has been ruled out of this month’s trio of qualifiers due to a back injury suffered with German club Wolfsburg, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday. Brooks joins Tim Ream as the latest central defender out of action for Gregg Berhalter’s side this month. Ream withdrew from international duty due to family reasons.

The 28-year-old started the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Canada and Honduras in September, but will remain in Germany for injury rehabilitation. Brooks was a second-half substitute for Mark Van Bommel’s side in Wolfsburg’s 3-1 Bundesliga loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.

Brooks has endured a difficult stretch, including his disappointing performances in the September qualifiers followed by some inconsistent play with Wolfsburg, which included Brooks being sent off in UEFA Champions League play. He has gone from being a lock starter for Wolfsburg to finding himself on the bench on multiple occasions in the past month, a product both of his own dip in form as well as Wolfsburg’s push to find playing time for a young core of central defenders.

With Brooks out, Miles Robinson enters camp as the leading candidate to fill one of the two starting central defender spots when the Americans take on Jamaica, with Mark McKenzie, Chris Richards and Walker Zimmerman in contention to start alongside the Atlanta Unite defender.

The USMNT opens its three-match schedule on Thursday in Austin, Texas against Jamaica before traveling to Panama on Sunday, and closing out the October qualifiers at home in Columbus, Ohio against Costa Rica.