Altidore likely out for rest of group play
by Ronald Blum
Associated Press Sports Writer
June 20, 2014 04:01 AM | 793 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three days after being carried off the field with a hamstring injury, U.S. forward Jozy Altidore was ruled out of Sunday’s group-play game with Portugal.
<BR>Associated Press photo
Three days after being carried off the field with a hamstring injury, U.S. forward Jozy Altidore was ruled out of Sunday’s group-play game with Portugal.
Associated Press photo
slideshow
SAO PAULO — Jozy Altidore will miss the Americans’ World Cup game against Portugal on Sunday because of his strained left hamstring and appears likely to sit out next week’s match against Germany.

The U.S. probably needs the forward to advance to the knockout phase, if he is to return to the tournament.

Altidore was hurt in the 21st minute of Monday’s 2-1 win over Ghana, and the U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday he will not play against the Portuguese.

“He’s a big player for us,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “We’re extremely bummed for him and for the team, but we bring 23 players, and it’s just a chance for somebody to step up. Hopefully the injury’s not too bad and we can see Jozy later in the tournament.”

U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman did not reveal the severity of the strain. The Americans have just three days off between this weekend’s game in Manaus and their first-round finale in Recife on June 26.

“It’s bad news, but I think the team will handle this,” midfielder Jermaine Jones said. “We have to handle that.”

Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore for the second half against Ghana. Chris Wondolowski is the other striker who could join Clint Dempsey in the attack.

A 31-year-old Californian, Wondolowski led Major League Soccer with 18 regular-season goals in 2010 and 27 in 2012, and tied for the lead with 16 in 2011.

“He can score from anything, score when you think there’s nothing, no chance, and next thing you know he scores,” Beckerman said. “He works his tail off for the guy behind him. He does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”

Johannsson, a 23-year-old who was born in Mobile, Ala., and grew up in Iceland, scored 26 goals last season for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.

“Wondo is more the finisher in the box,” Jones said. “Aron is more maybe the guy who’s good with the ball and tries to go one against one.”

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann also could opt to shift from the 4-4-2 formation he used in the opener and start five midfielders.

Dempsey has not decided whether he will wear a mask to protect his nose, which was broken during the Ghana game by John Boye’s shin to his face during a battle for a header.

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

Portugal also has issues after its opening 4-0 loss to Germany. Central defender Pepe was ejected after he appeared to head butt Thomas Mueller, right back Fabio Coentrao was taken off on a stretcher and forward Hugo Almeida limped off. Pepe is suspended for Sunday’s game, and Coentrao is out for the tournament.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides