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Hertha Berlin clear John Brooks for U.S. World Cup qualifiers despite injury

Taylor Twellman applauds the growth of MLS entering 2017, but raises concerns about its impact on American players.

Defender John Brooks has been cleared to join the United States team for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, despite picking up a minor knee injury in Hertha Berlin's 4-2 defeat at FC Cologne this past weekend.

With Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson pulling out of the U.S. squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama, Brooks' knee problems could mean that Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic would be the only Bundesliga representative on the U.S. team for the matches against Honduras and Panama on March 24 and 28.

After an MRI on Sunday, the club gave Brooks the all clear to travel to San Jose, California. The examination revealed that the defender sustained only a meniscal irritation in the 4-2 defeat at Cologne.

"We are delighted that John feels well," Hertha sporting executive Michael Preetz told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. "John will travel to his national team. We are in contact with those responsible there, they will take care of John.

"The United States has a new head coach. They have important World Cup qualifiers," Preetz added, voicing his sympathy for the defender's ambition to impress U.S. coach Bruce Arena and help his nation get back on track in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Brooks restored some Hertha pride on Saturday against Cologne with the final goal of the match, a header from a corner with around 20 minutes left, but it couldn't prevent the side's sixth straight defeat away from home.

He also partially to blame for Cologne's fourth goal of the day when playing for offside near the halfway line.

"That's not how to defend it," Preetz told reporters on Saturday.

 

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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