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Steffen returns to fitness as USMNT's goalkeeper battle heats up

Michael Regan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

American goalkeeper Zack Steffen returned to the lineup for Middlesbrough on Saturday night against Rotherham after missing four games because of a knee injury.

The 27-year-old had not played since Aug. 20, Middlesbrough's fifth match of the season.

Steffen was left off the roster for upcoming World Cup warmup matches, and American coach Gregg Berhalter said Steffen received a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Steffen went on loan to second-tier Middlesbrough from Premier League champion Manchester City in hopes of gaining playing time ahead of the World Cup. He appeared in just nine matches last season for Manchester City, where he was Ederson’s backup — one Premier League game, along with four in the FA Cup, two League Cup, one Champions League and the Community Shield.

Steffen, who is from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is competing for the three goalkeeper spots on the U.S. World Cup roster with Matt Turner, who is Aaron Ramsdale’s backup at Arsenal; Ethan Horvath, who went on loan from Nottingham Forest to second-tier Luton for this season; and New York City's Sean Johnson.

Turner, Horvath and Johnson are on the U.S. roster for the Americans' exhibitions against Japan on Friday and Saudia Arabia on Sept. 27. Berhalter plans to announce his World Cup roster on Nov. 9.


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