Rafa Benitez has revealed why he resisted the temptation to play DeAndre Yedlin against Rotherham United.
Yedlin, signed from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, impressed during Vurnon Anita's three-game suspension.
But the 23-year-old dropped down to the bench for Newcastle United's visit to the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday.
Anita, having served a three-game ban for his dismissal against, was recalled for the game, which Benitez's side won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Christian Atsu on his full Championship debut.
Yedlin had needed treatment for an ankle problem ahead of the Rotherham match, and Newcastle manager Benitez, mindful that the USA international was set for a gruelling transatlantic trip, erred on the side of caution.
"I think it was important to give Yedlin the chance to rest a little bit, because he had two problems with his ankle," Benitez told BBC Radio Newcastle.
"I didn't want to take the risk. When you have a player like Anita, it's someone you can trust 100%.
"I think Yedlin understood really well and Anita competed really well."
Yedlin is in the USMNT squad for Thrusday's historic friendly against Cuba. The two countries will play on Cuban soil on for the first time since 1947.
Meanwhile, Anita is in the Holland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against France and Belarus.