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Chris Wondolowski: Replacing Jozy is like replacing Cristiano Ronaldo

Jun 20, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

Wondolowski AP

Speaking with the media in Brazil ahead of Sunday’s game against Portugal in Manaus, it’s still unsure who will replace the injured Jozy Altidore at the front of the US attack, but that may not necessarily be what the team is trying to do.

With the main man down for the United States with a hamstring injury he blatantly suffered against Ghana, the combination of Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski will have to pick up the slack.

But picking up the slack doesn’t necessarily mean directly replace the man who went down.

“Jozy is a special player – that’s like saying ‘hey, go be Cristiano Ronaldo.'” said Wondolowski at a press conference in Brazil. “You can’t necessarily replace certain aspects of it, but I think that both Aron and I bring different styles, different sets of skills that I think are useful, and I think that’s what we have to go do is incorporate those skill sets, and fit into the game plan as well.”

With Altidore unable to go for at least the game against Portugal – and likely more, barring a miraculous recovery from what looked like a heavy tug to his hamstring – it seems increasingly likely that both men will somehow factor into the game plan at the front.

“We’re going to have to do certain things that Jozy did, and incorporate our styles as well,” Wondolowski said.

[ MORE: Missing Altidore: Who steps up? The case for Chris Wondolowski ]
[ MORE: Missing Altidore: Who steps up? The case for Aron Johannsson ]

Neither men would drop hints on who would get the playing time in Jozy’s absence – or the majority, at least – but with both men using the term “we” a lot, it sounds a lot like the time will be shared.

Whoever plays, whether it’s Wondo, Johannsson, or both, they won’t have the physical attack that Altidore possessed, but they will bring other things to the pitch, and it’s Jurgen Klinsmann’s job to utilize those new abilities on the pitch to their advantage, and look to punch holes in the Portuguese defense missing some pieces.

  1. navyeoddavee9 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    I don’t think Ronaldo would have been riding the bench at Sunderland, a little exaggeration I think, Jozy is a good player, not in the class of Ronaldo, if u are going to compare, be more realistic

  2. thepointsystem - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    What? I have never seen the Jozy do anything. I would take Donovan any day.

    • talgrath - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:53 AM

      Apparently you haven’t been watching the USMNT the last four years or so then…

    • lyleoross - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      I wonder how long it will take for us to realize that Jozi is a striker and LD is a mid? One doesn’t replace the other except in one category, scoring. The other problem with assessing Jozi is that if you only look at his scoring, you’re missing half the story. Yes, he has to score, and it kills us when he doesn’t, but his direct play results in opportunities for other players across the board. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a phenom, or even a “great” player, but in the scheme that JK uses he is a key component that it is hard to replace.

  3. troy2 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    I think Jozy can be a great player at times but this brown nosing is a little too much.

  4. mdac1012 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    I get what Wondo is trying to say, but bad example.

  5. navyeoddavee9 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Don’t think Ronaldo, would have been riding the bench at Sunderland, very poor example

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