June 19, 2014
By Michael Lewis
ALTIDORE OUT, DEMPSEY, BESLER IN
Mixed injury report heading into Portugal game
Big Apple Soccer Editor
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Jozy Altidore is out of Sunday's game with Portugal.
The U.S. striker won't play in the World Cup Group G match due to a strained left hamstring he suffered against Ghana, according to a U.S. Soccer spokesman.
Altidore suffered the injury while running down a ball on the left flank in the 18th minute in the Americans' 2-1 win in Natal on Sunday.
U.S. Soccer officials would not say how long Altidore would be sidelined, although spokesman Michael Kammarman said the team was "hopeful that he will be available for the tournament."
"It’s bad news but I think the team will handle it," midfielder Jermaine Jones said. "We have to handle that, so, we have to step on it."
Center back Matt Besler (right hamstring tightness) and captain and striker Clint Dempsey (broken nose) were cleared to play, although the latter had not decided whether he was going to wear a mask.
Losing Altidore, who was rounding into form after a marathon personal scoring drought, was the only blight from the Americans' victory over Ghana.
"He’s a big player for us," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "We all came into this World Cup thinking ‘This is going to be a huge World Cup.’ You know, he got two goals before we took off, so we’re extremely bummed for him."
USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has three options, using Chris Wondolowski or Aron Johannsson in Altidore's place or use a formation that would deploy one striker and five midfielders instead of the usual two forwards and four midfielders.
Klinsmann was unavailable for comment.