While the wait for Jozy Altidore’s MRI results continues, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann addressed the media to discuss the health status of Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Matt Besler.
Altidore’s status for the remainder of the World Cup remains unclear after suffering a left hamstring strain in the 23rd minute of Monday’s Group G win over Ghana. He was stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Aron Johannsson. Klinsmann told reporters that he remains hopeful of having him back at some point during the tournament, which sounds a lot like he’ll sit out Sunday’s match against Portugal. The results should be made public on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to see how he now reacts the next couple of days with his hamstring, and we’re full of hope that he comes back still in the tournament,” Klinsmann said. “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.”
Keep seeing stories quoting Klinsmann saying US will get Altidore back for WC. Not what I heard him say. Said he's hopeful about it.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 18, 2014
If Altidore is unable to play against Portugal, look for Klinsmann to insert Johannsson to the starting XI. He’s considered by some, a better option at top for the United States.
As far as Clint Dempsey, it looks as if the Texas hero who scored the fastest goal in U.S. World Cup history may have to go LeBron on us and wear a mask on Sunday. Dempsey suffered a broken nose after getting a high kick to the face from John Boye in the first half. He is not expected to miss any game action, but is still considering a mask moving forward in the tournament.
“Now Clint has to work with his nose,” Klinsmann said. “It will hurt him for a couple of days. I broke mine three or four times; it’s alright. We’ll give him a few days.”
Like Altidore, Matt Besler also underwent an MRI on his injured hamstring, but the injury is not considered serious. As a precaution, Besler left the opening game at halftime for John Brooks, who became the hero with his go-ahead header in the 86th minute match Monday.
“Then at half time with the soreness Matt Besler had, we decided not to risk it and have a second player maybe going out then,” Klinsmann said. ” So we were precautious and took Matt out and John came in and played his first World Cup game.”
The good news for the U.S. heading into Sunday’s match is that Portugal will be without Pepe, who received a silly red card against Germany for headbutting Thomas Muller. The Real Madrid star is known for his antics, but also considered the heart of Portugal’s defense. Fabio Coentrao – another defender – will miss the remainder of the tournament with a thigh injury. A draw against Portugal in Manaus would likely increase the chances of a Round of 16 appearance for the Yanks.
Portugal defender Fabio Coentrao out of the rest of the World Cup with thigh injury #SSN
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 17, 2014
Photo via Getty