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Jozy Altidore's Status for Portugal Game Unknown

Jun 18 2014, 8:19pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

Jozy Altidore's Status for Portugal Game Unknown
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The status of United States striker Jozy Altidore, who pulled his left hamstring in a 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16, remains uncertain for the game against Portugal on June 22.

United States striker Jozy Altidore's status for Portugal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup remains unknown. 

Steven Goff of The Washington Post probes deeper into the situation of Altidore, who pulled his left hamstring in a 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16: 

"As the U.S. national team soccer team turned attention from Ghana to Portugal, from the euphoria of a memorable finish on the coast to the gravity of a World Cup trial Sunday against the sport's premider player in Amazonia, Jurgen Klinsmann prepared to go forward without his top-choice striker, Jozy Altidore. 

"Altidore strained his left hamstring in the first half of the Group G opener Monday. Instead of accompanying teammates to a conditioning session, he reported to a local hospital to undergo an MRI exam. Details were not immediately released, but even under the best circumstances, Altidore would almost certainly miss the final two Group G matches. "

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann remains confident Altidore will still be a factor regardless of the timing of his return, per ESPN FC's Doug McIntyre: 

"U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is confident that striker Jozy Altidore can still play a role at this World Cup despite the strained left hamstring he suffered in the first half of the Americans' 2-1 win over Ghana on Monday night. 

"Altidore had an MRI on his hamstring on Tuesday, and Klinsmann said the team would watch how he responds this week. 

"'We've got to see how he reacts the next couple of days with his hamstring, and we're full of hope that he comes back still in the tournament,' Klinsmann told reporters at a Tuesday news conference held at Sao Paulo FC's training facility, the Yanks' home base while in Brazil. 

"'That's what we're going to work on every day. The medical staff is doing a tremendous job (for) weeks, so we still have the hope that Jozy will be back. How quickly, that is down to his healing process.'

"In the first half on Monday, Altidore was running down a ball with Ghana's John Boye when he lowered his head to attempt to control it. He immediately grabbed the back of his left leg and fell to the ground in pain. He was replaced by Aron Johannsson. 

"'Obviously we all hope he'll be all right,' midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said. 'I'm sure if he's able to work hard we're going to get him back. We have players that can play different roles and come in and do a good job. Last night we had two subs come in and add something to the game.'"

Should Altidore sit out the game against Portugal on June 22, USA Today Sports' Kelly Whiteside sees Johannsson taking his place: 

"The biggest decision Klinsmann faces: who might take Altidore's place?

"Presumably Aron Johnannsson, who replaced Altidore after the injury, will be Klinsmann's first option. He had middling status in his 67 minutes against Ghana. As the team struggled for possession time, Johansson barely saw the ball. But his through pass to Fabian Johnson set up the corner kick that resulted in John Brooks' winning goal. 

"Johannsson, who was born in Alabama and raised in Iceland, brings qualities to the front line no other U.S. striker offers." 

Whiteside says Chris Wondoloski, "who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time," is another option. Still another player the Americans can turn to in Altidore's absence is 19-year-old Julian Green. 

 

Whiteside also asked U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi if tactical changes against Portugal need to be made without Altidore in the fold. 

He said, "I don't think so. We have guys who can fill that spot. Our depth was tested yesterday and it proved to be very good for us. We have guys who can fill that spot and do the same job Jozy can."

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