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Altidore sidelined by hamstring injury, leaving upcoming qualifiers in doubt

JozyAltidoreSunderlandTottenham3 (Getty)


Jozy Altidore was left out of Sunderland’s match vs. Crystal Palace with a hamstring injury that could jeopardize his participation in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers vs. Costa Rica and Mexico.

There is no detailed word on the severity of Altidore’s injury just yet, but if the injury was significant enough to keep him out of Saturday’s Sunderland match, it isn’t a stretch to assume it puts his participation in Friday’s World Cup qualifier vs. Costa Rica in doubt.

Altidore has been on fire for the USMNT, scoring in five straight matches, including his hat-trick performance in the U.S. team’s 4-3 win vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If Altidore can’t play in the upcoming qualifiers, Jurgen Klinsmann will have a variety of options to replace him, though replacing Altidore’s recent outstanding form won’t be quite as easy. Klinsmann could partner Landon Donovan with Clint Dempsey in a 4-4-2, or start Eddie Johnson as the target forward in a 4-2-3-1, which we saw in the Gold Cup. Aron Johannsson is a popular pick among U.S. fans, but with just one national team cap under his belt, and no experience in World Cup qualifying, it’s difficult to see him starting just yet.

What do you think of this development? Who would you start up top for the USMNT if Altidore can’t go?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. ——LD—-Deuce—–

    THAT’s 3 pts right there.

  2. -————Johansson/EJ

    Disregard who plays striker and Bradley’s CM partner for a second (updated for injuries). I believe this formation allows both Donovan and Dempsey to play their best positions and helps secure the right side by putting a disciplined defender on the wing. No room for Fabian in this set up, unless you include him over Beasley, which might work because the way Dempsey played LM at Fulham opened the wing for Riise.

  3. Sadly, I believe Klinsmann will start Eddie Johnson, I understand not starting Kevin Bacon on this pitch because AstroTurf and violent fans. Like our German kids starting in Honduras worn down rather quickly and confuse in those conditions. Both Donovan and Demspey aren’t #9 but Donovan is better scoring form, while Dempsey isn’t 100% right now and Dempsey is a midfielder

      • Players (Chandler, Williams and Johnson) that debut Qualifiers in Tropical Weather, it’s something players mentality and physically learn to deal with.

    • Right now EJ is our hottest forward. I think he’s scored in like 6 out of the last 7 games or like 7 in the last 8 games. I don’t like him very much either but he puts the ball in the back of the net and he should probably start.


  5. I have no complaints with Dempsey and Donovan as a forward tandem. I still think it would be wise to have one or the other as a forward and the other as a withdrawn forward. Ideally, they are BOTH withdrawn forwards, but what formation do we have that would allow that to happen in Midfield?




  6. Great!!…Now no Brad Evans for the NATS!!!….Geoff Cameron is going to have to step it up! RB is in shambles now…Who will Klinsi replace an injured Evans with??

  7. Neither Dempsey nor Donovan is a pure striker fit for the international game. EJ has shown he can be the point of the spear. ……speed and prowess in the air and physicality. Neither Deuce nor Donovan handle physicality well and Donovan actually shies at from physical play.

      • The good news is CONCACAF isn’t really international football and a tandem of Donovan and Dempsey could likely hold up. BUT, I like EJ, he has shown capable in CONCACAF and provides a nice target that Donovan and Dempsey do not.

        Without Altidore- Landon had better play.

  8. Bummer about Jozy, we’ll just have to wait to see how bad it is.

    The options aren’t the best. It would be a ballsy move to start Ice as the target forward ahead of EJ…I’d love to see it but I don’t think it happens. Deuce on the point with LD underneath, that would be a fascinating dynamic to watch…still like LD’s speed outside cutting into to space.

    Not real exciting, but I think JK goes with EJ up top with Deuce underneath. I think Ice will have a big impact on the game when he gets on.

    It would be nice to call Agudelo in for depth…

    • Probably the case but don’t be shocked of JK starts Aron Bacon, he has shown before he likes to throw players into the deep end. That being said, it’s hard to not startJohnson in the first game with him continuing t produce for Seattle.

      • AJ is not a FS, he is a bonafide SS, even Jozy said so about him. That is why there was all of this talk about one day Aron taking over for Dempsey. I think what will happen is EJ taking Jozy spot for now.

  9. Now who’s worried about peaking too soon?

    The US was always going to hit some speed bumps, but hopefully everything is settled and off and running come Brazil.

  10. The cynical part of me says he should get injured more this season so he isn’t associated with Sunderland’s tragic failure. Then come in and look comparatively awesome after they have hit rock bottom.

  11. jumping to conclusions here! he played 90 min last weekend and on wednesday in a cup game. i’m sure he was pretty bangedup after a long week and rest is in order.. hopefully its something that a little bit of time off can heal..

  12. I was at the Sunderland match in the away section with the Sunderland supporters (I’m in the UK for a conference). Anyways, everyone was really disappointed that he wasn’t playing. Several kept saying “Ji is no Jozy”. They could have used him.

  13. I thought Palace v Sunderland was just fine–I’ve been watching too much Spanish football and I forgot how entertaining errant passes and kamakazi tackling can be. Couple of great saves too, and a goal scored off a backside! What’s not to like?

  14. GTFO soap box man.

    If Jozy is out – I would be in favor of Dempsey up front….Aaron behind, FJ on left, LD on right. Id rather see this than EJ swapping out Jozy.

    I really hope Jozy is ready to go. Ugh, just when you think you have all of your big guns ready to go……always something!

    • We have to face the fact that Klinsmann is going to wait for congress to convene before he does anything about this Jozy situation. If there is, indeed, a hamstring injury, action must be taken, and you’d think that he’d have the cojones to either convene congress or make an executive decision.
      Had only the job gone to Pekerman.

  15. I would really like to see a study which compares injury rates between the top leagues in Europe. This would be helpful information for our US players when choosing which leagues to play in in Europe.

    The study “The Methods for epidemiological study of injuries to professional football players: developing the UEFA model” ran into difficulties because of different standards/methods between leagues. It says “There is a need to agree on a uniform sports injury classification system with corresponding diagnostic criteria, as well as standardised return to play criteria after injury. “

    • Great post. Short lived careers have ruined many young talented US players. But maybe pay will always determine where people want to play.

    • When you have a US player that can choose between offers to play in the BPL, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Lige 1, and Serie A, you let me know.

      • Ummm, there are plenty of players on the US roster that could have their choice. Whether those players would want to join the lesser sides of those leagues is more of the issue. There was just about no chance but if Donovan’s contract would have expired at least 1 club from everyone of those leagues would have inquired.

      • Plenty? That implies more than one or two. Please name them.

        Now I’m not asking you to name USMNT players who have the talent to play in those leagues. Just about every regular USMNT player has the requisite talent.

        I am asking you to name me the USMNT players that would actually get offers from clubs in all four leagues.

        That is two very different things.

  16. I wouldn’t read as much into that.

    US Soccer said he was still expected to REPORT to camp. They said nothing of play. The coaching staff and physios for the US team, which I can guarantee are quite superior to those of Sunderland want to get their own assessment of him.

  17. The announcers in the Sunderland game just said that US soccer still expects Altidore to be in camp. Maybe he just sits out against Costa Rica and plays against mexico?

  18. I do believe the physio’s in the US are way better than in the UK. Bring JA back to the US for some treatment and see how he goes and make the decision for CR or Mexico, if the hamstring isn’t better or he still not OK to play, then work on him in the US and send him back to the UK fit ready and rested and it’s a win-win situation.

  19. Commentator for Crystal Palace v. Sunderland just announced.. US soccer confirmed that Altidore WILL report to camp for the upcoming qualifier.

  20. And it looks like Altidore will report to camp this coming week. Maybe he just tweaked the hammy a bit and didn’t want to further injure. It’d be a HUGE sigh of relief for him.

  21. With how Johannson is playing at AZ, and how he looked against BiH; This would be a great time to see if he can do it on a big stage in an absolute beast of a place to play in Costa Rica. EJ after 65 minutes or so. We’ve now have the depth to where if Altidore or other big players get hurt, that we can plug in someone and be fine. With the exception of a permanent RB, we’re fine.

    • it’s different down there this time, as it won’t be on that Veteran’s Stadium level carpet on which they have traditionally held their home games in Costa Rica. Gonna play on a real field this time instead of concrete

    • Makes sense to me. However, it may be rash to assume that Klinsmann will go with a 4-4-2. He may play a 4-5-1. With both Donovan and Dempsey they often do well coming in late. I think you put one on top and play the other as a withdrawn forward and then they could interchange to keep the CR defense guessing. I would start off with Donovan on top.

      • could be. Costa Rica play a very organized backline, squeezing the field. well timed runs from and thru midfield to get behind the pressing backline could be good with 5 midfielders, tho Klinnsman worked the flanks and served the area that way during the Gold Cup against them. a two striker approach in 4 4 2 or 4 1 3 2 are good formations for that approach

  22. Amazing how everyone want to play Donovan on the flank. When he plays forward he is most effective. Hopefully Klinsi will use him that way. The Galaxy finally are. Right side is the Nats achilles heel at the moment. Evans plays on the right midfield. Whatever, I’d like to see Donovan up top. He’s the most in form of all the strikers in the pool.

    • i don’t think it’s that ‘amazing’; they’re simply remembering 5 (or so) years ago when donovan simply wasn’t getting it done up front–he certainly wasn’t ‘most effective’ there–so he was moved to the outside, where he flourished.

      • That had more to do with how that team was set up and the other players.

        In the 2002 World Cup Donovan paired up top with Mcbride for a very successful World Cup run.

        The current team may also be well set up for Donovan to play up top.

      • sorry, very late response.

        just want to say that i agree with you; i was just explaining that donovan hasn’t always been most effective up front, and so it isn’t really that amazing that people would have him playing out wide.

    • Catamount,

      It’s not amazing. LD has a record of success playing just about everywhere in midfield and forward.

      His success for the Galaxy up front right now is so notable because Keane is there and their partnership is something else.

      He will be successful for you no matter where they put him.

    • Well, from what I know, if it is a strain as reported, it can be two or three weeks. A pull is four to six weeks. I pulled my hammy once and couldn’t run for 4 weeks, pushed it too hard and reinjured myself and then had to stop running for another three weeks. You have to be careful with hamstrings. Costa Rica and Mexico are definitely out and even the round after that could be in doubt for him depending on the severity and how quick he can recover his fitness.

  23. Doesn’t Jozy know he’s ruining my whole Saturday and possibly my next couple weeks as well? This is very inconsiderate of him.

  24. why not bring in agudelo? the options already called in are fine, but if you have that spot, why give a chance to juan. he has been really strong for the revs. also, on an outside chance, freddy adu started his last match for bahia and actually looked REALLY good. if that 23rd spot doesnt matter so so much, he is a guy that could bring a special moment or two in a close game off the bench.

    • Can’t agree with this. Adu looked pretty damn average against the Portuguesa reserves, botching the only real dangerous attack he was involved in during his 70-minute stint.

      • disagree. thought he was a constant danger on offense: he made great runs, his service was impressive, and he hustled the whole time (which is nice to see).

        and yet i don’t see his one appearance in a cup game enough to justify bringing him in to the upcoming quals.

      • Really? Well I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. Hopefully he gets minutes tonight. I’m not sure he helped or hurt himself midweek, but he has usually made the 18 for away matches, so hopefully that continues.

      • the problem with Adu isn’t his talent…he’s such a big mouthed azz he’s burned bridges and other quality players wont tolerate it

  25. ———-EJ———–Deuce————-(Deuce Donovan EJ interchangeable)
    ———Bradley——-Jones————(Bradley box to box)

    Bacon-60 min sub for EJ, Jones on a short leash, Mix Bedoya Woods Castillo Orozco likely to see action in one of the matches.
    *Jozy and Zusi not 100% fit*

  26. ————Johansson

    EJ off the bench for AJ
    I would hold off Jones for Mexico as he is sure to pick up a yellow in Costa Rica. This lineup should be very dangerous going forward.

    • Your logic on Jones makes no sense. How is he sure to pick up a yellow? His only yellow this year (for the US) was a good tactical foul to slow down a goal scoring chance. Also never bench a guy for that reason. It’s like benching someone because he may get hurt.

      • I was afraid Jermaine would not take the news well when I told him that I prefer Cameron over him. I took the weak way out telling him that I want to ensure his participation in Columbus. He was still upset and screamed at me in at least 3 languages. I dread telling him that he is benched in C-bus too. I wish you would have corrected my logic sooner Mr. Troll.

      • CR will be a brawl..let jones fight ..yellow wont matter….mix or Cam pair well with Bradley and flow better

      • Earlier this week in the CL qualifier he picked up two yellows within about 70 minutes. Not encouraging. Plus he is already needs only one yellow against CR to miss the Mexico game. It might be better to keep him out of CR and put him in vs. Mexico at home. I think Cameron would be an able sub.

    • Question for you. Who would you rather start, Fabian or either Zusi or Bedoya? If you choose the latter, then why not do this:


      Disregard who plays striker, RB and Bradley’s CM partner for a second. I believe this formation allows both Donovan and Dempsey to play their best positions and Beasley to get forward and helps secure the right side by putting a disciplined defender on the wing.

  27. OK, if this turns out to be bad enough to keep him out for both games, it sure does suck…
    But I dont see him bringing in Wondo or Aguedelo or any other forward,
    I’d bet he brings in either Corona or Shea(depending on his knee) and goes with Eddie, Aron, Clint & LD as the 4 up top for the 2 games

  28. Dempsey and Bacon.

    Bacon seems pretty composed and is on fire, so start him. Dempsey has enough experience to help him keep/get his head in the game and to help him stay calm if necessary.

    Donovan ideally belongs in the midfield where his forward passing skills and vision are a huge plus, and he has both the speed and inclination to track back on defense.

  29. Dang. Not good news for my fantasy team or the usmnt. I’d like to see Donovan and Dempsey up top in a 4-1-3-2

    • Maybe but I like EJ so much better off the bench. With fresh legs he can just run right by and jump right over tired defenders. Against fresh defenders who pressure the ball, he’s very, very mistake prone.


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