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Altidore won’t make return from hamstring injury vs. Germany

JozyAltidoreHamstring (AssociatedPress)


Jozy Altidore’s health is improving, but he will not be ready in time to play Germany.

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Tuesday that Altidore is still making progress in recovering from the left hamstring strained sustained in the Americans’ 2-1 win vs. Ghana on June 16, but that a potential return to this World Cup would not come until after Thursday’s Group G finale against Germany at Arena Pernambuco in Recife.

“This game comes still too early for him, but we’re working on getting him back in this tournament,” said Klinsmann on Tuesday before the U.S. left Sao Paulo to head to Recife. “Once this game is hopefully done successfully we’ll have a good chance to have him back in the team.”

Altidore might be nearing a return, but the Americans still have not ensured that they will continue on in this tournament. The U.S. currently sits on four points and needs just a draw against the group-leading Germans to reach the Round of 16. There are also scenarios in which the Americans could lose on Thursday but still advance.

The veteran forward missed out on this past Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Portugal because of the hamstring injury, and Klinsmann turned to captain Clint Dempsey to spearhead the U.S. attack in Altidore’s place. Dempsey scored the Americans’ second in that match.


  1. Substitutions will be key. If JK starts the same XI vs Germany, then our offensive subs will be:
    Johannsson, Wondo, Yedlin, Diskerud, Davis, Chandler and Green.
    My guess would be the first three.
    Our midfield trio will not get any rest this game either although they need it after Manaus.

    • I know this isn’t common here, but looking at the bench I have trouble working up a sweat over who JK throws out there on Thursday. Davis or Green to run the left flank. Chandler to use his knowledge of the German players, Brooks also (and Besler looks like he needs to give that hammie a rest). Yedlin to run them ragged. Mix or AJ or Wondo to help with possession and wear down the high-mileage German back line. There really aren’t a lot of bad options. (OK, I might suck in my breath to see Omar start, but even then, it seems we are pretty resilient in the face of one or two a game and Omar doesn’t have a monopoly on them.) Also, JK has more information than we do about physical condition.

      • Completely agree. Having arguably our best 11 on last time did not keep us from giving up a completely shocking goal in the first few minutes.

        We need to put out a lineup that will give the Germans considerable pause about pressing forward. A fast lineup. Klinsmann will oblige.

    • Yeah you’re right, I lost track of one GD thought it was 3-0. Still, if I’m Germany, that’s the losing score I don’t want because the score in the other game could easily go lopsided, even 4-0, if one team goes down 2-0 – the losing team has to throw everything but the kitchen sink forward.

  2. I know it’s fun to make line up guesses and all but if anybody thinks we’re playing “attacking” football agains Germany then you’re out of your little mind.
    We are going to maintain 11 players goal side of the ball the whole game with maybe Dempsey crossing midfield line once or twice per half.

    • Nope. Worst possible outcome for US is to lose 0-1. Same for Germany. Both will press for at least one goal, then and only then can the bunkering commence.

      • If Germany gets there first (i.e. scores first) then we need to find a way into the penalty area. Drawing a PK may be the best option if they bunker down.

    • Jeff is spot on. The most small-minded approach is to try to play for a draw. If you’ve looked at the outcomes matrix, a 1-0 loss is one of the riskiest results we could suffer. That combined with a Ghana win of 2-1, 3-2, or 2-0 would elminate us.

    • Good question. They have other good players and replacement options (this is a team that started with KP Boateng and Michael Essien on the bench against us), but he is a significant loss.

    • Id like to see Muntari and Hulk go full speed against each other one day on a 50-50 and see if the universe explodes. Both are beast among men. I’m not sure how Ghana holds up in the middle without him either

      • I’m terrified that Ghana without Muntari runs over Portugal and leaves the U.S. no wiggle room. Pretty worried that Portugal is worse than they seemed and Ghana is better.

      • Ghana could very easily be 2-0 right now. I just hope Muntari’s absence will be a big factor, and that Pepe manages to get the Portugese to put up a fight, for pride if nothing else.

      • Muntari was only slightly slowed by his malfunctioning shorts against Germany. WTF? Did he lose his drawstring in the second half? Anyone else see that?

  3. How do I put this, if I was watching games for a living during this tournament, I don’t know when I’d find the time to do stories. As it is I have a DVR piling up with games I miss.

  4. I kinda knew he was out the previous Monday when he went down like a sack of potatoes. In fact, assuming we make the round of 16, I doubt he’ll be back for that.

    • I didn’t know so many people were lack deductive powers to understand that Jozy would NOT be back. The most simple of Hammie injuries is two weeks.

  5. The guys are probably tired, maybe time to put in some fresh faces for Germany. maybe julian gets to play. Sould they rest jones so he doesn’t get another yellow? What lineup changes would you make?

    • I would play both Howard and Guzan, and then put Rimando in front of them. 0-0 gets us through.

      JK of course. I’m still loopy from Sunday’s emotional train wreck. I would make few changes to the lineup that started vs. POR. Maybe find a way to get Yedlin to start without benching FJ.

      • What do you think about Diskerud as CAM and holding Bradley as a second half replacement? If he’s got head problems, that could be a way to help him work past that.

      • No way! Bradley starts. I was thinking Mix for Beckerman in the advanced/false 9 role and having Bradley drop back to his more customary holding role.

      • Im so sick of the blind eye people turn to Bradley. He has been awful the entire tournament, Borderline out worst player across both games, why does he get the automatic start?

      • I take it you’re one of those people who blames Bradley’s “give away” as the reason we tied Portugal. NVM that Bradely never had control of the ball lost and it was a 50-50 challenge 65 yards from our goal that the Portugal guy made a helluva challenge to win. NVM that there were 7 defenders behind the ball against 4 Portugal players and that 5 of those defenders converged on the right to CR7 leaving 3 Portugal players against 2 defenders.
        Bradley played his usual good game that day! Minus the open goal he should have done better at and the other play I’ve dissected above.

      • And we are so spoiled by Bradley’s ball winning skills over the years that we just expect him to win all 50-50 balls and when he doesn’t we say he should have done better.

        I want Bradley in there cause I think he has a chip on his shoulder with all the yahoos blaming him for the tie. Even people at my work with zero knowledge of soccer are saying he sucks.

      • That’s the other option – Bradley for Beckerman at DM, and Mix for Bradley at CAM.

        Was just thinking that sometimes the way to get a player out of a funk is to let him come off the bench. It’s the difference between thinking “I’ve GOT to do this, GOT to do that,” and watching from the bench thinking “What the heck is he doing? I’m ready, coach, put me in!”

      • I’m a huge Bradley fan and want him on Thursday. I actually think that we should start the same line-up as with Portugal subject to players’ physical conditions.
        But there is one thing I blame both Bradley and Beasley. MB should have immediately grabbed the other guy jersey, take his legs out or whatever. Red card did not matter. DMB should have just tackled Ronaldo. Stop the game, regroup, game over. Knowing when to commit a foul and possibly a hard foul is part of being professional. How doesn’t that click for our guys?

      • This is what I don’t get, there are only seconds left. As DMB you have recognize you are in 1 v. 1 situation. With Gonzalez on to cover a corner, If you have to tackle CR7, you do that. A red card means nothing, they will have a last kick of the game free kick, much easier to defend.

      • That’s just ridiculous. Beas did exactly the right thing. You’re one on one with the best player in the world coming at you…and 6 other defenders behind you.
        Your options:
        A. Keep him in front of you and trust that the defenders behind you actually do their job..
        B. Try to tackle him and risk him getting by you into more dangerous space..or try to grab a much stronger player who will get advantage called..
        C. Foul him and give them a free kick in that spot where they can put 9 guys in the box..

        Of the 4 things that went wrong, MBs giveaway, Gonzo being 20 yards ahead of the backline, Fabian and Cam not tracking the runner…Beas was not one of em. Just stop it.

      • I was thinking the same thing. Bradley’s been in poor form so far – so many incomplete passes, so few challenges won – plus, he’s obviously struggling with the conditions. Everyone wants to criticize him for losing that challenge at the end of the game, but where he really failed was immediately after the challenge, dude just turned around and walked back upfield and watched. It was Ronaldo-like in its laziness. Give him a rest. See if playing as a 70th minute sub can energize him.

    • You do realize Portugal scored in stoppage and we’re not through yet, right?

      We have to field the best team we can. The style of play should change, but the quality of play has to be the best we can show. Jones is playing. Actually, against Germany, I’d hate to be the guy who tried to stop him from playing.

      And if he feels he needs to take a yellow to break up a German attack in the second half, he’ll do that.

      • Funny image, of the guy telling Jones he’s not playing against Germany after being the best player for 2 straight games. He’d be like that Uruguayan guy who got knocked unconscious and still wouldn’t let the coach take him out.

    • The only way to rest jones is to change formation to a 4-4-2 with Bradley and Beckerman playing defensive. And the issue there is Bradley is either A) exhausted and unable to make any challenges because he didnt the entire last game or B) refusing to make challenges in which case he belongs on the bench.

      I dont think we can rest our most valuable player through both matches when we havent yet advanced.

      This is due to Klinsmanns roster selection, we have no depth in central mid and no depth at forward and very very little depth on the wing

      • Two DMs in a 4-4-2 will quickly look like a 4-2-3-1 once one of the attackers (probably Dempsey) settles in behind the other.

      • Not necessarily. And even so, I would not start Bradley over Jones, especially with a high defensive responsibility which Bradley has been ignoring the entire tournament

      • Jones has been are most valuable player through 2 matches. He needs to be on the field as long as our progression to the next round is in doubt.

      • The DMs looked tired as the game progressed. They are being asked to run side to side chasing possession. It doesn’t show up as tackling but they are doing a lot of hard work to defend space. We then do these jailbreak counter attacks headed full speed downfield. There is no relaxed, measured buildup, particularly once their legs were gone at the end of Portugal.

      • “There is no relaxed, measured buildup, particularly once their legs were gone at the end of Portugal”

        Is that better than a jailbreak counterattack?.

      • It’s a tactical on-off switch allowing us no subtle ability to possess and run clock. At the end of the last game it would have been nice to play keepaway. But neither the personnel nor the tactics supported it.

        You can say what you will about the overall tactics but sometimes you need to be able to shift gears.

    • The problem with that theory is that of all the games Germany is the one you should show up with the A team rotated to freshness. Kind of a catch 22 now. Do I play more sketchy but fresh players? Or run out the A team again and pray they have gas?

      • I’m thinking the pace of the game might be pretty slow. With neither team wanting a loss, happy with a tie, etc., it won’t be another Germany-Ghana.

      • Germany has no reason to fear a loss, they will likely come out to beat what they consider an inferior opponent.

      • Germany has nothing to gain from a win but plenty to lose from a loss. A tie gives Germany the group title and the chance to avoid Belgium and instead get one of the more appealing R16 matchups for a team trying to rest some players. A loss allows for the possibility they don’t advance. They will try to score early and hold. This is a game all about advancing. It will be interesting to watch. I don’t expect collusion. I expect both teams to come out seeking an early goal. But if and when those goals come, I expect the foot to come off the gas once it gets to 1-1.

      • the winner of the group plays it’s round of 16 game on the 30th, on three days rest, and provided they get out of that game, plays in the quarterfinals on three days rest. 2nd place gets an extra day of rest before the round of 16. Will be interesting to see which fresh legs come out to play for both teams, especially seeing that teams playing after a game in Manaus are 0-4…we could end up with a lot of players looking to make a mark in their first game of the tournament and a game a bit less cautious than expected.

      • The chances of a loss booting Germany from the tournament are low. The goal differential to make up is too large.

      • Thank You Jess D.
        that’s exactly why every little goal matters.
        we also saw how Mexico, lost out on winning the group.
        It happens to multiple teams every tournament, that’s why you put your chances away.
        nobodies giving up, so fight on
        till the final whistle blows.

      • USA, 2009 Confed Cup. Every so often something surprising happens so I would be surprised if they just sit there. It will be a measured pursuit of 1-0 or 2-0 but no way they play for 0-0 and trust GD. The people who say that I wonder if they’ve never played a tournament and been burned in the last game of a round robin.

    • 1.)Zusi on the left and Bedoya on the right.
      I think we should go at Boateng. If you could move Fabian to left to attack Boateng we can exploit his injury. It will be an interesting day.

      • That’s interesting. But I’d say we do that only if Chandler can play. It’s bad enough having Beasley in on his strong side.

      • I think we go at Mersaecker. He’s slow. I actually like the idea of putting Yedlin on the right either at RB or RM, with FabJ at the other position, but it won’t happen. I think we stay with the 4-2-3-1 as it’s our best formation, esp against GER which drives its attack from the midfield. As such, we’ll need to clog the lanes and try to gain possession there as much as we can. GER also leaves space between their mids and their back line, so if we can exploit that space with good passing we have a chance. I think if JK makes any changes, it will be either Mix or maybe even AJ for Zusi or Bedoya. AJ is a particularly intriguing choice as he will be 100% fresh and can make speedy runs in the attacking third and hopefully take advantage of Per. But with JK you just never know. I do think that given the situation – needing at least a draw, the fact that playing for a draw against this GER team in a situation where we cannot afford to risk losing, and the fact that our team is gassed from the heat and emotional drain of Manaus – JK will play at least one new card in the starting lineup. We shall see. I was devasted like everyone else after what happened with POR, but I have to say, as time goes on and I recover, I am feeling more and more optimistic that JK will have our boys ready.

    • Green and Yedlin are both along for this ride for one purpose only: run at slower outside backs. Which, as Ghana showed, is one of the few Achilles heels of Germany. Scary to think of starting both, but one to start and one later if needed?

      • People keep talking about agree, and I would love if I was proven wrong, but I cannot for the life of me see how that kid plays. I just didn’t see anything from him ever that says he’s ready.

    • Holy! That guy got another game?! That was one of the worst mis-calls in a tourney with a bunch of them. Chicharito’s expression said it all.

      • I’m shocked too.. apparently he was the ref of the year 4 times…
        (Maybe in the clown league)
        History has conditioned me to be nervous…

  6. Too bad, but it would be more of a surprise if he returned. And if (when!) we do see him in this cup again I doubt he would start.

  7. Jozy should take notes and study how Clint Dempsey plays the lone striker role. He made good, intelligent runs into space to receive good balls in dangerous areas with a few chances on goal.

    • For the first half in the last game. Dempsey did link up well for a while then eventually started to vanish until his goal. Thats just the life of a striker, the best strikers especially in a lone role will be invisible for extremely large portions of matches

    • But how was his holdup play?

      Has anybody commented that we have scored more goals without Jozy then we have with him? 4 goals in two WC games isnt to shabby

      • You cant use the goals scored argument when Dempsey has been playing that role for 120 minutes longer than Jozy

      • 1 goal with him on the field, 3 without. The second one on a corner kick. I am happy we’ve already scored 4 goals, but I’m not keeping Altidore out based on this.

      • An average of 1 goal every 23 minutes with Jozy on the field vs an average of one goal every 52 minutes without him on the field. Obviously the sample size is ridiculously low and completely meaningless, but I’m sure you already took that into consideration when making points that aren’t backed up by actual fact.

      • I agree. Jozy does things from a forward position that enables the U.S. to score. It seems people have a hard time understanding that.

      • Exactly!

        Just like I do things from the midfield position to help the other team score!

      • He also helps our defense a lot, just by holding up the ball downfield and drawing fouls. We may not score because of it, but it gives everybody else time to reset the formation and catch their breath.

  8. Hope Jozy comes back soon.

    Glad Klinsy is at the helm, I’ll bet Jozy is getting all kinds of cutting edge treatment.

    Coach is making all the right personnel calls, not treating the team like it is a FIFA videogame where players keep the same exact form for as long as you own the game. Instead, he is playing all the right players at the right times and in the right positions.

    • The Yedlin sub proved ambivalent, one up, one down, and I thought the Gonzo sub was somewhere between pointless and counter-productive. What he needed to do was freshen the midfield and tell people to hoof the ball to the flag. They got out of their shell and paid for it. You can argue that was one up, one down too. Break each way.

      It’s a very fine line strategy he’s threading — eek out squeakers while conceding a great deal of possession and chances — and we’re about to see how well he can do it against Germany, who I think in the circumstances plays to win. I think it’s naive to believe they will knock it around and take a draw. Prisoner’s dilemma, they don’t know we won’t crack through once and ruin their tournament. So I think we have a cornered animal on our hands that needs a result.

      Far as Jozy is concerned, we’ve managed four goals without him against top notch competition, and he’s never scored a World Cup goal. For all the Jozy Jozy Jozy it’s old man reliable Dempsey who’s scoring with the cash on the table. A hammy is a re-injury risk at this stage and you’d blow a sub knowing better than what you’re doing.

      • I think Germany will try to score. But they aren’t going to risk numbers up to do it. There are times you need to score and times you need to stop the other team from scoring.

        Slow game, with a lot of 2v4 situations, etc. But when anybody from either team gets a look at goal with some space, they’ll take the shot. And obvious players are going to do what they can on set pieces.

      • Well, I’d say you’re wrong about everything but the re-injury risk.

        We dominated possession against Portugal. The Yedlin substitution was inspired and precisely what was needed (game was ied at the ime and he was instrumental in our taking the lead).

        Jozy has never scored a World Cup goal in his 20 minutes this Cup, and the games he played as a 20-year-old. Best to write him off, clearly.

      • Actually the stats I saw had possession at 52-48% in favor of Portugal. So even is fair, not dominated by either.

      • Klinsmann is not conceding possession, he’s coaching up a version of fast break/positive possession to players that realistically still have to overperform against the top teams to pull it off successfully. His ultimate reason is an admirable pursuit of defining the national style of play, and not just on the national team, but all the way down to the academies around the country.

        I’d wager the US think they can still perform better than they have so far in midfield which will lead to less opportunities for Germany. And I so hope they are right.

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