Jozy Altidore to Miss USMNT Game Against Portugal
The USMNT will face Portugal in Manaus without striker Jozy Altidore who suffered a hamstring injury during USA’s 2-1 victory over Ghana last Monday. Altidore was sprinting for a ball and pulled up clutching the back of his thigh. He was carried off the pitch looking to be in immense pain and underwent MRI scans at the team’s base in Sao Paulo. Altidore previously suffered a hamstring injury in 2011 and missed the Gold Cup finals.
While the severity of his injury has yet to be released the United States will likely have to rely on Aron Johansonn, who replaced Altidore in the 21st minute, or Chris Wondolowski.
Clint Dempsey, who scored the quickest goal in USMNT World Cup history on Monday, suffered a broken nose when he collided with Ghana’s John Boye while chasing a high ball. Dempsey’s status against Portugal is unaffected and is expected to start with no problems. ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap reported that Dempsey is unlikely to wear a mask when facing Portugal, probably not wanting to feel uncomfortable in the intense heat of Manaus.
Along with the injuries at the front of the team, defender Matt Besler was seen clutching his hamstring and left the Ghana match after halftime. Besler spoke in a press conference after the game ended and complained of cramps but said removal was precautionary and is expected to be match-fit for the Portugal game.
Alejandro Bedoya left the match in the 77th minute complaining of a hip pointer and a cramp in his hamstring. Bedoya was replaced by Graham Zusi whose corner kick led to John Brooks’ winning goal. Bedoya is also expected to play against Portugal and should be fully healthy.
Conditions for the game in Manaus will be no better than what the USMNT faced in Natal with temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 88% humidity. Both teams are likely to slow down as the match goes on as we saw in the England-Italy game at the same venue, making the players on the bench likely to be difference-makers in the game as was seen on Monday against Ghana.