U.S. Men’s National Team striker Jozy Altidore is available to play in their Round of 16 game against Belgium on Tuesday, as announced via the USMNT’s official Twitter account.
Altidore has been training with the team for the past few days and was ruled healthy earlier today by team doctors. The striker sustained a pulled hamstring in the early minutes of the USMNT’s first game against Ghana. Altidore pulled up when running for the ball and was taken off the pitch in a stretcher.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated in a press conference, “This is what we wanted,” Klinsmann has been optimistic about Altidore’s return since he went down during the Ghana game.
Altidore’s return provides the USNMT with added goal-scorers and could help their possession time, which has been very low throughout the World Cup. Facing a strong but unorganized Belgium side will be tough for the United States’s defense when Chelsea’s, Eden Hazard takes the pitch. Altidore can help fill the gaps in their offense that has been mostly left to Clint Dempsey to carry.
Aron Johannsson, Graham Zusi and Brad Davis all took turns trying to fill in for Altidore but only Zusi has made a real impact with his corner kick that was headed in by John Brooks to give the U.S. their 2-1 lead over Ghana. Even if Altidore doesn’t start, he could make a big impact coming off the bench later in the game.
With 71 appearances and 23 goals, Altidore’s availability for the U.S. couldn’t come at a more opportune time. The team was only able to score four goals in group play and need a stronger offense if they want to go deep in the World Cup.
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