[BRAZIL 2014] The USA will be without Jozy Altidore for Sunday's World Cup match against Portugal in Manaus. U.S. Soccer confirmed on Thursday morning the striker will be absent but did not reveal the degree of the hamstring strain he suffered in the first half of Monday's game against Ghana. U.S. players expressed confidence, though, in the abilities of Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski, the two candidates to replace Altidore, one of four players who had started every game at the last two World Cups for the USA.
Klinsmann's three attacking options against Portugal
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann remained hopeful Altidore can return for the end of the World Cup. The USA's final group match is June 26 against
Germany in Recife. If it advances, it will play June 30 in Porto Alegre (as the Group G winner against the second-place team in Group H) or July 1 in Salvador (as the Group G runner-up against the
Group H winner).
The likely replacement for Altidore is Aron Johannsson or Chris Wondolowski, who between them have played only 315 minutes with Clint Dempsey, who should start against Portugal despite his broken nose. The partnerships have produced one goal -- Wondo's goal in the 2-2 tie with Mexico in April.
Dempsey and Wondolowski:
MIN. MATCH (SCORE)
45 USA-Spain, 0-4 (2011)
26 USA-Canada, 2-0 (2011)
13 USA-Panama, 1-2 (2011)
USA-Guadeloupe, 1-0 (2011)
11 USA-Canada, 0-0 (2012)
USA-Mexico, 2-2, 1 Wondolowski goal (2014)
Total: 6 games, 220 minutes, 1 goal.
MIN. MATCH (SCORE)
27 USA-Ukraine, 0-2 (2014)
68 USA-Ghana, 2-1 (2014)
Total: 2 games, 95 minutes.
Their teammates expressed confidence the
abilities of both candidates to replace Altidore, one of four players who had started every game at the last two World Cups for the USA.
"I think we have guys who can fill in that spot,"
said Graham Zusi, who came off the bench Monday night to assist on John Brooks' winning goal.
Jermaine Jones said both players have strengths.
“Wondo is more a finisher in the box,” he told
reporters on Thursday. “Aron is more the guy who’s good with ball and does one against one better.”
Kyle Beckerman is confident
in the goalscoring abilities of both players. “He can score when you think there’s no chance and then next thing you know he scores," he said of Wondo. As for Johannsson, "He’s got
this kind of attitude about scoring that he just kind of does it and he feels like he has to do that."
BESLER UPDATE. Matt Besler (tightness in his hamstring), also injured in the Ghana match, will be available Sunday.
-- Portugal will be without three players who started against Germany.
Hugo Almeida and Fabio Coentrao are injured, while Pepe is suspended.