Jozy Altidore Ruled Out Against Portugal, Could Return Later In World Cup

Jozy Altidore Ruled Out Against Portugal

Jozy Altidore will be out for the United States in their match against Portugal, dealing a costly blow to the team’s upset hopes.

Altidore had originally been questionable for the match after suffering a hamstring injury in the 21st minute of Monday’s 2-1 win over Ghana. Altidore was carried off the field and had an MRI on Tuesday.

Despite slim hopes that he might play against Portugal, Altidore was ruled out on Wednesday.

“Jozy Altidore has a strained left hamstring and he will not be available for the next game,” U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman said. “But we are hopeful he will be available in the tournament.”

There is still a chance that Altidore could return for the United States, however. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he was hopeful that Altidore will be able to be back before the end of the tournament.

The powerful forward also said he hopes to be back.

“I was sprinting and I felt something, and we’ll see what happens,” Altidore said Monday night after the injury. “Of course it was tough for me, I was crushed. I knew right away I couldn’t continue, so that was probably the worst feeling.”

Before Altidore was ruled out, it looked as if Team USA might have seized a small advantage against the favored squad from Portugal. Their star forward Cristiano Ronaldo will likely remain out with a knee injury, and Pepe will be forced to miss the match after head butting Thomas Muller in the team’s loss to Germany.

The American squad had counted on Jozy Altidore for his large presence, despite something of a scoring drought for the 6-foot-1, 24-year-old star.

Team USA said they aren’t planning any big changes in strategy against Portugal given Altidore’s absense.

“I don’t think so,” midfielder Graham Zusi said when asked if the team would need a new strategy. “We have guys who can fill in 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.”

Aron Johannsson was called on to replace Jozy Altidore in the match against Ghana. Klinssmann hasn’t yet announced who will fill in now that Jozy Altidore is out with injury, but it seems likely Johannsson would be tapped again.