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US injury update: Dempsey with a broken nose, Altidore’s status bleak

Jun 16, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

Altidore Getty Images

The US experienced an emotional roller coaster in Natal tonight, but now the focus will be to look forward to a quick turnaround against Portugal on Sunday.

Something that will be a big concern for the US is their injuries they suffered during their match against Ghana.

We should start by saying nobody is fully fit in Group G. The Germans were without Bastian Schweinsteiger in their match against Portugal, and saw Mats Hummels helped off with a leg injury in the second half.

The Portuguese needed to sub off both Fabio Coentrao and Hugo Almeida with injuries, and had Pepe suspended thanks to his moronic red card. Finally, we saw Kevin-Prince Boateng come on in the second half for Ghana, which was more than originally expected, considering reports said he was out of the starting eleven thanks to an injury.

The United States came into Ghana at full strength, one of the only teams to enter the World Cup without any injuries, but they suffered a number of knocks against Ghana – some more serious than others.

[ MORE: Brooks wins it late | Man of the Match | Talking points ]

The first and most obvious is Jozy Altidore, who caught the crosshairs of the proverbial sniper in the 21st minute against Ghana.  He went down clutching his left leg, and was crying (according to teammates and coach) as he left the pitch on a stretcher.

His outlook is bleak. There is no official word from US Soccer yet other than it’s a “strain” and not a straight-up tear, but it’s likely that at this point, best case scenario for Altidore is that he maybe could return for any potential knockout round matches.

As ESPN’s medical analyst team pointed out after the game, a hamstring strain still involves a tear, but it’s not a tear of the muscle from the bone – thankfully – just a tear of the muscle itself. Therefore, it’s difficult to speculate how long he’ll be out.  However, there will certainly be a lot of swelling, pain, and discoloration for Jozy, and he almost certainly won’t be back for the match against Portugal.

Another player removed due to injury is central defender Matt Besler.  John Brooks replaced him and played incredibly well, defending well and scoring the game-winner, but having Besler back will be crucial going forward.

He was clearly hampered at the end of the first half with a hamstring injury of his own, and Klinsmann removed him at the break.   The only news we’ve seen is the original diagnosis from US Soccer, which was “tightness” of the hamstring. They called the substitution “precautionary” but it’s hard to see how Klinsmann would be “precautionary” in the biggest match in four years.

[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ]

Either way, that’s quite a bit better than Jozy’s situation, and depending on how he heals up in the coming days, it’s still very possible we could have Besler back for Portugal on Sunday.

According to writer Franco Panizo, both Altidore and Besler were walking with noticable limps after the match, but that’s to be expected, as hamstring injuries can be incredibly painful.

Clint Dempsey took a John Boye shin to the face towards the end of the first half as retribution for schooling the Ghanian defender 32 seconds into the game, and confirmed after the game that he likely has a broken nose.

But we already knew that from the images we saw:

And the one we all reacted to on the ESPN broadcast when it first happened:


Don’t try to tell me you didn’t turn to your buddy, cringing, and say “yea, that’s broken.” I did.

He carried on and played the rest of the game, and in the postmatch presser, he sounded like he both inhaled helium and held his nose closed.  If he can heal properly, there’s no reason why he couldn’t play in the ensuing games left on the US schedule, but he’ll likely wear a mask to prevent any further trauma to the nose.

[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ]

Finally, one that hasn’t been mentioned much is Geoff Cameron.  Nobody’s updated his status or even talked about him, and while the other CB played the full 90 minutes, he seemed to be cringing a bit and stretching his legs just before halftime.

It’s very likely he was just suffering from cramps, but definitely will be in the back of people’s minds as we await updates from US Soccer over the coming week.

One more note: not injury-related, but after the match, both John Brooks and Jermaine Jones were randomly selected for doping tests by FIFA.

  1. imagreatguy76 - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Don’t forget Bedoya…he appeared to be carrying a knock before being subbed out.

    • Kyle Bonn - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      I think he was just exhausted more than anything.

      • patriotsdefense - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        I felt he played poorly and too often took frantic off target shots. They missed the mark by lots. I wouldn’t mind seeing Zusi start and maybe trying Green off the bench. They must cap tie him, IMO.

      • bishopofblunder - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        I’m not so sure. He landed wrong when jumping for the ball and had a noticeable limp. Though it obviously wasn’t enough to take him out of the game.

      • tlhknight - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        Green doesn’t need to be cap tied. He has already used his one time switch. He can’t play for Germany again.

    • jdfsquared - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      I thought Bedoya played rather well. He was monstrous in defense (the Ghana goal began when a pass got around Zusi from a position Bedoya had been covering well all night), and was cool on the ball in transition when everyone, including Bradley, was wigging out in the middle third.

  2. jylick - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Does anybody else think that Boye and Muntari were fortunate to not have been (red) carded? Pepe’s red seemed a mere cautioning compared to Muntari’s reaction against Jones and Boye’s elbow-karate kick combo to Dempsey’s face…I didn’t realize the group of death meant that your players run the risk of actually dying!

  3. penvik - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Portugal will be a much BIGGER test. USA needs a tie at minimum in that match. Germany is going 3-0. Ghana 0-3.

    • mknow406a - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      Portugal will be desperate… but with their injuries and cards, can they perform under pressure? If CR7 is as pedestrian as he was today (how much was the knee?), the US can definitely get a result.

  4. godsholytrousers - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Clint’s nose is epic broke. Reminds me of Brian McBride’s eye. Soccer Warriors!

  5. farvefromover - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:25 AM


  6. aldavis4president - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    @jylick I thought J.Jones was lucky to not have at least a yellow. He kicked the Ghananian in the head and immediately pleaded he was sorry knowing he might’ve been booked. J.Jones had several hard fouls and was fortunate to no receive a card.

    • mknow406a - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      If the kick to Dempsey’s nose didn’t warrant at least a yellow, Jones incidental ‘kick’ after a very bad tackle was no where near as bad (and yes, I do realize he could have avoided it, but he didn’t haul off, he just let his foot hit his head)… at least the official was consistent in keeping the cards in his pocket.

    • akcita - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      BS, Muntari came in on a late challenge, took J. Jones legs out, which he put up in the air as he went on his back. Muntari got up under neath him and Jones, let his feet hit Muntari head as Muntari rose through them. Muntari then lunged at Jones and tried to choke him.

      Muntari should have been gone.

      The shin to the face on a header? C’mon comepletely uncalled for and there was no ball to try to kick, so no reason to kick. It should have been another ejection.

  7. lyleoross - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    It seemed to me that Ghana was getting the better of it. They were frequently playing into the body (Charging and Jumping), and the referee let it go. The slide into Jones was out of control dangerous, and frankly, while the foot in the face could have been avoided, it was entirely unintentional. Jones was looking for the ref to see if he was gonna get the call, which he should have. How anyone could think that the two were remotely equal escapes me. As for the response by Muntari, really? you pile into Jones like that and you whine that his foot touched the back of your head? And the foot to Dempsey’s face was a card of one sort or the other.

    You can criticize Jones all you want, but he was the one US player who was playing in a style similar to the Ghanaian’s style. Even for him, I felt he was still getting more than he was giving. On way to many challenges when Ghana had no real chance they were coming in hard, often sliding, and the referee should at least have warned them off.

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