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No Jozy Altidore against Portugal; Matt Besler “should” be good to go

Jun 19, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

Altidore AP

The United States will be without longtime starting forward Jozy Altidore when it continues its World Cup campaign against Portugal on Sunday evening.

Altidore, 24, has 23 goals in 71 caps for the United States. Jurgen Klinsmann said he’s hopeful the striker will be ready for the Group G finale against Germany.

From our friends at Soccerly:

U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman said Thursday the Americans were hopeful Altidore can return at some point during the tournament. The Americans complete the first round against three-time champion Germany on June 26.

Defender Matt Besler, who came out of the Ghana match at halftime because of a sore right hamstring, should be available for Sunday’s game in Manaus, Kammarman said.

Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore in the opener against Ghana, and Chris Wondolowski and Julian Green are other strikers who could fill the void next to Clint Dempsey (who netted the first goal of the match).

  1. tridecagon - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Wearing a mask in the Manaus heat sounds awful. So does playing with an unprotected broken nose. Yeesh.

  2. bobbyinlondon - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    If Altidore’s hamstring is as bad as it looked when he got injured, they should just shelve him and recall Donovan. I believe you can recall a player to replace an injured player. They shouldn’t play the wait and see game.

    • medic0nduty - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Even if they wanted to, they can’t. The deadline for replacing injuries was June 12th, I believe, and that ship has long since sailed.

  3. granadafan - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    This makes the decision to keep Donovan off the roster all the more worse. KIinsmann knows more about soccer than all of us combined, but the Donovan decision was just awful. Let’s hope Johannson or Wondo really step it up.

    • lyleoross - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      I love the frequency of this comment. If one were to think logically about this, why would JK leave Donovan off the roster? Lets admit he’s lost a step, and still acknowledge that he works hard, and is a force. So, given that, and JK’s skill set as a top level manager (yes, I know that many question this, I call that BS given what’s been delivered, both for Germany and the US) why does he leave this clearly skilled player off the team? What are we missing? IMO LD had to be a locker room cancer, and all the side evidence supports this. Remember, Donovan has always been about Donovan, he had issues going back to Bob Bradley and how he supported BB and the team. Side stepping WC qualification would be a second. In this, I’m standing with JK, I’m guessing that LD has an attitude problem. As fans we don’t see it, except when he makes nasty comments about the situation.

      Finally, as has been pointed out, LD isn’t a replacement for JA, he’s a mid. Who is it better to build your mid around, LD, or MB? For me that’s a no brainer, even given MB’s poor performance against Ghana. In one case you have an aggressive scoring mid, in the other you have a mid who builds space, moves the ball, supports up and back, and can deliver the ball on a dime to your forwards. Maybe it’s as simple for JK as he wants a different mid structure than he has with LD. BTW – how many times did LD and MB get on the pitch together during the last GC, and during WC qualification?

  4. egb234 - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    I am not really sure why people are complaining about Donovan at this point. Not only has that ship long since sailed, but Donovan is not a replacement for Altidore. Donovan is a midfielder. He would be competing against Jones, Bradley, Beckerman (three anchors in the triangle) and Bedoya/Zusi/Davis. He might be a fill in for someone like Dempsey, but he would never beat out Dempsey anyway.

    If the Altidore injury were to highlight an omission it would be that of Eddie Johnson. Johnson isn’t as good as Altidore, but he is bigger and stronger than Johannsson and Wondolowski, and more of a like-for-like replacement. Also, he has some big-game experience.

    I think this shows how much Klinsmann was relying on Altidore. He never thought he would have to deal with this situation, so he preferred keeping Johannsson and Wondo as possible change-up subs rather than Johannsson as a change-up and Johnson as a back-up.

    Anyway, it’s all academic at this point. Johannsson has shown promise and Dempsey can sometimes play with his back to the goal. We’ve still got a tremendous test against a quality Portugal side in extremely bad conditions considering how many players we had cramping in Natal. Still a ways to go before safety.

  5. jucam1 - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Altidore is wayyyyy overrated and not close to being a world class player. He would have been huffing and puffing at the midway mark. This is probably good for the US. And let the Donovan thing go, the guy is done.

  6. nottinghamforest12 - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Altidore is a mediocre, at best, forward. Not suitable as a target man, seldom able to play as an advanced forward, lacking the instincts of a poacher. His loss is nothing substantial & will allow for some more creative play up top. That is of course provided the US can maintain some semblance of possession & passing this time around.

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