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Altidore ruled out for Portugal showdown

Jozy Altidore injury


SAO PAULO — To no one’s surprise, Jozy Altidore has been ruled out of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming World Cup match against Portugal.

A U.S. Soccer spokesman said Thursday that Altidore will not play on Sunday in Manaus after suffering a left hamstring strain in the first half of the U.S’s 2-1 win over Ghana on Monday. The severity of the injury was not disclosed, but the spokesman added that the team is hopeful he can return at some point in the tournament.

The loss of 24-year-old Altidore is a tough blow for the Americans, who could book their ticket to the next round with a win over Portugal and a Germany triumph against Ghana.

“He’s a big player for us and I think we all came into this World Cup thinking, ‘This is going to be a huge World Cup (for him),'” said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. “He got two goals before we took off, so we’re extremely bummed for him and for the team. But we bring 23 players and so this is just the chance for somebody to step up and hopefully the injury is not too bad and we can see Jozy later in the tournament.”

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will now have to carefully weigh his options for the match at Arena Amazonia. Klinsmann could elect to replace Altidore with one of Aron Johannsson or Chris Wondolowski. Johannsson was the player Klinsmann turned to when Altidore picked up the non-contact injury in the 21st minute against Ghana.

“I think they just want to try to help the team, offensively and defensively” said right back Fabian Johnson. “I think they’re both great strikers. I don’t know who’s going to play, so I think they’re just trying to do their best.”

Regardless of who starts in Altidore’s place, there will be a chance on Sunday for another player to step up and prove his worth.


Think we see Altidore later in the tournament? Who would you start Sunday? Should Klinsmann stick with the same formation, or shake things up?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I would take Beckerman out, move Bradley back with Jones and introduce Zusi as a starter. Beckerman slows down the transition of this team every time the ball goes through him. Bradley was erratic on the last game because of two things, the role that he was given emphasizing on offense, which he is not so much accustomed to except perhaps the last few USMNT games leading to WC, and the defensive (bunker down) posture the USMNT took after taken the lead. However, Klinsmann seems to have a crush on Beckerman.

  2. Thankfully Sunil did not hire the bright minds posting on this board. False 9, start Green, wait Green sucks, darn Klinsmann didn’t plan for this, Cameron at forward, Edu, Adu, and Odu should all be here. Oh, gee, don’t we need…Landon! Look, JK may be goofy, but he’s not a moron. I’m guessing he has contingency plans and, since he actually runs the team, probably had a pretty good opportunity to think them through and test drive a little.

    So we play differently. We need to anyway. Different opponent, far less physical, far more fluffy, major divers. Speak Portuguese, which few people understand, except in Portugal, Brazil, and Mozambique (Hey, who was your colonial ruler? Portugal. Hahahaha). Physicality of Altidore is less necessary. Two forwards? Aron and Dempsey, #2 and #3. Bedoya? Zusi? Need the better ground passer, not crosser, honestly not sure who that is. May also depend on whether they have any reason to think CRMe will not play. If not, maybe Beckerman sits and maybe Fabian gets a runout as a mid, Brooks comes in, Cameron slides over. Heck, Mix it up. Or don’t. Whatever.

    Or we could return to the olden days and start Beasley at LM. And someone will hurry over to the next country that has power and working phones, and give Boyd and Conor Casey a call, because we need a target forward to replace Altidore, and not only that, we need a target forward to replace the target forward that replaces Jozy, and he scored two goals against Belize once. I’m holding out for Taylor Twellman though, he scored tons in MLS and that translated right to the NT!

  3. “Obviously, Jozy is a big part of our group and gives us a lot of hopes for this summer’s World Cup. But if something, god forbid, happens to Jozy, then I need to have a backup.”

    In terms of like-for-like replacement, Boyd provides the most seamless fit. At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Boyd has the size to provide a physical presence in the box and to play with his back to the goal. He has also been in superb form of late, netting six goals in his last four league matches for club side Rapid Vienna.

    “I’m like one of these tanks up front, that’s what I think. You want to play against me?” he joked as he engaged the assembled press. “I’m just trying to play simple, and keep those balls up there. I’m just coming with my will, playing aggressive, and force the defense into mistakes.”

  4. False 9 with Dempsey or johansen up top.Thou no Zusi fan, I think you need to start him. Bedoyas set pieces were atrocious. The problem is who comes in off the bench…this is where it would have been nice to have LANDON!!!!!

  5. My preference:




    This way we get to fast experienced RB’s covering CR7, Bedoya helping out on Nani. And going forward FJ can terrorize the new out of position RB for Portugal.

  6. We need Zusi’s crossing & his ability to backtrack. Anyway, Bedoya would be a bit worn from the last game.

    Wondo, maybe could bully the Portuguese and wear them down, with Zusi crossing helps Wondo’s game.

    Kevin Bacon came-in cold & stiff, & just saw Altidore go down with injury, plus nerves. maybe this Kevin Bacon would be better prepare psychologically.

  7. Only gonna say this once. The one who loses out with the Altidore injury is Beckerman. Klinsman said that they have different systems and now we get to see one in play, an old one. My crystal ball predicts we line up with this. A 4-4-2 with Dempsey and Wondo both floating, Dempsey floating more, and a bit behind. Both are experienced poachers and they will be nipping at the ankles of Portugal’s back-line causing them to cough up the ball. Wondo is great at his diagonal runs behind the line and will be a headache for Portugal to cover.
    This lineup means that Bradley and Jones go back to sharing defensive duties and have to rely on more of a hold up play and draw Portugal into our half. This will give us more counter attack opportunities and cause Portugal’s back to be on their heels, under pressure, and cough up the ball.
    Our outside backs will still overlap on the wings, but the will have to fight the urge to push up too high unless covered. Besides set pieces, we are more suited to goals on counter attacks than build up play. Not going to be pretty but it we will get a result. If we decide to use Davis, then Bedoya moves over to the right and Zusi gets to be a sub.

    (Davis) (Bedoya)
    I also expect Ronaldo to be subbed out early or more likely come on as a sub when Portugal go down a couple goals. The man is a game changing danger, but he’s only human and injured. As long as he doesn’t get too much space on the run he can be neutralized.
    Expect to see subs start rotating into the middle around the 60th minute, baring any unforeseen injuries elsewhere.
    This is how I see it going down, but what do I know, I have an a&sh#l@, so I got an opinion;)

  8. AJ makes sense if you want someone to take on defenders. Wondo makes more sense if you want to exploit disorganization in the Portugal backline, resulting in spaces to attack. Wondo has strengths and weaknesses, but like Dempsey, he is a wizard at disappearing then reappearing at the right place and time with the space to strike. We saw in Portugal’s friendlies and the Germany game that they struggle to maintain a cohesive shape in the back, while their defenders are quite competent 1v1. If the objective is to score goals, I would therefore prefer Wondo over AJ.

  9. Ives – the MegaRed add has started playing w/ sound automatically in every thread i open. then, when i pause it, it starts playing again a few minutes later. mind checking into that? thanks!

    not of fan of Dempsey, AJ, or Wondo playing Jozy’s role. i think you have to change the formation. if not, i’m sacrificing AJ’s ability and playing him up top and letting Dempsey do his normal thing behind the striker. if he is having trouble breathing, maybe switch at that point. should have Boyd or EJ here and i’m really disappointed in JK’s decision to not bring one of them. not hating on Wondo, but it’s the reality. Wondo plays in a two striker system at SJ and he needs that other guy distracting the defenders. he is not going to do well with hold up play or creating his own chances. that last part is why I would start AJ. better at creating his own chances.

  10. ——————Wondo—————

    Rest Beckerman. Put Bradley closer to CR7. Davis and Zusi serve balls in to Wondo and Dempsey. Jones and Bradley are there to follow up balls that pop out. That’s our offense. Along with set pieces, which Davis and Zusi excel at.

    This lineup is more offensive-minded, to be sure. But Davis and Zusi are fresh and they can defend as well.

  11. All of you seem to be on the same page. But it is the wrong page. What leads you to be so sure that Ramos and Herzog haven’t been training a false 9? And as I pointed out above we do have a player that can play that position.

    • He hasn’t played that position for our NT. Cameron has played forward before, does that mean we should put him up top?

      • He has never played that position for the NT, friendly or competitive match. Teams shouldn’t, don’t, and won’t experiment during the WC. That’s what the four-year gap is for.

      • I believe you are very wrong. Btw, it won’t be considered “an experiment” if the NT has been spending a lot of trIning time on it.

      • That’s a big “if” you are throwing around there. I like Green; he is not playing the false 9 any time soon for the US.

  12. Its got to be a 4-2-3-1


    or a 4-4-2


    -I’d personally go with the first lineup as i think it helps to clog POR’s midfield while also covering Nani and Ronaldo. I’d rather have Jones pinched in the middle and a more natural winger out wide
    -Anybody calling for a false 9 with Mix should reevaluate their analysis

    • Exactly, please no more false 9 talk; we don’t have anyone that has proved they can play that position, much less competent wingers to support the false 9.

      We have not looked good playing the diamond, btw.

  13. Stated by someone earlier, but stick with what’s tried and true: 4-2-3-1


    Pretty defensive formation but the fact is POR will come out swinging in desperation from the outset. Tire them out and counterattack the good-old fashion USA circa 2002 kind of a way. Then @ minute ~60 put in the Iceman and/or Wondo and go for the kill.

    Control the midfield, don’t tire out our players as much – then drop the hammer.

    • I would actually do an attacking formation. Pepe and Coentrao are out. Id put Johansson in and have him run at whoever they put at left back.

      • Yeah, I’d try to run more of a 4-1-3-2 than a 4-2-3-1. Beckerman holding, Jones/Bradley/Zusi, and Demps/Wondo up front. Bring Aron and Bedoya on in the second half.

      • that is the weird piece to that formation. Jones attacking from the left doesn’t feel right. I don’t think we can create enough possession or hit a dangerous cross from the left. It is a sacrifice to staying strong defensively up the middle. Not sure it is worth it though.

  14. Injuries are revealing how horrible these roster selections were. We have absolutely no replacement for Altidore, we also have no replacement for Bradley, Jones and Beckerman. If any those players go down our central midfield is in major trouble. Mix can maybe sub for Bradley at the very best. We have some depth in the player pool, but Klinsmann decided not to bring it. Johnson, Boyd, Edu are all players that should be on this roster. Honestly when i look at our roster I see players he tried to justify bringing for depth when leaving the best depth we have at home. Centerback of course we need depth, and we have some OK depth. LB is either Beasley or Chandler.

    This is where the Donovan snub hurts as well, if we had Donovan over Green you could count Donovan as depth for 2 positions maybe even 3 and bring a Boyd. Of forward pool is thin only because of the roster selections and it affects other areas of the roster

    • I’ll bite. You say that Johnson, Edu, and Boyd should all be on this roster. While I agree about Boyd, who would you replace Johnson and Edu with?

      • Leave Davis and Green at home bring Edu. Zusi and Mix both provide good service on set pieces which is one of the main reasons for bringing Davis

      • Yes, but neither provide very good left-footed service.

        It’s strange how you think our defensive midfield is one of the weak points, since we have 3 DMs. If one of Bradley, Beckerman, or Jones gets hurt, you play with the other two, like we’ve been doing since 2011. If two or more get hurt, that’s nothing you can plan on anyway.

        Who’s the last one you would leave off? You want Boyd, EJ, and Edu on the roster, but only named two to leave off. You actually wanted Donovan as well, so I guess you’d need 4 off the current roster.

      • I agree that the depth brought to the WC does not really help the USA. It seems like Klinsmann brought people for their individual skillset. I think we are going to find out how costly that is.

        People defend the Davis selection because of his left foot. I think its pretty stupid to bring a guy who won’t start solely for the purpose of left sided free kick. How often do those occur during the last twenty minutes of a game? Is it worth not having a suitable replacement for Bradly/Beckermen/Jones/Dempsey incase that left side freekick happens in the 70+ minute?

        Wondo is a little iffy because all he can do is poach, and the USA has problems creating poaching oppurtunities against better opponenets. We now see the risk as we don’t have a replacement for Altidore. Instead of just changing one player out, we have to change our entire trategy to meet either Johansson’s need for another striker or Wondoloski’s poaching. And if you watched the Ghana game, we weren’t exactly throwing balls into the box.

        Boyd, or even Agudelo, would have been a better choice than Wondoloski. Wondoloski should have been competing with Johansson for a spot on the team, not Boyd. Johanssin and Wondoloski are the specilty types, while Boyd or Agudelo are Altidore’s backup.

        I would swap Davis, Mix, and Wondo for Donovan, Edu, and Agudelo (or Boyd). Donovan provides cover for Dempsey and can make things happen in the final 20 min of a game (with wonderful service). Edu could back up Jones or Michael Bradley. Agudelo would back up ALtidore. I like Agudelo more than Boyd because Agudelo is not an exact replica of Altidore like Boyd, and has potential to make something happen out of nothing. However both would work as both could be slotted in for Altidore and the overall game plan for the USA would not change.

      • Landon Donovan quote during camp: “Everything Wondo touches turns to Gold” If I recall, he was being praised from day one. And though I hadn’t been fan, we can only bring 23, what ifs & hindsight means nothing at this point….

      • And by the way, I thought Edu was the riskiest exclusion.. but the Boyd vs Wondo discussion must have been that Wondo was just better, because JK likes Boyd big time…

      • Bradley and Howard said that to have a strong World Cup, we need Donovan at his best. So players opinions dont really matter.

        I dont think Klinsmann thought thru his strategy before making the 23 decision. The players he brought do not represent the game we play, so I’d assume if he used hindsight, he would bring Edu.

        Its fun to speculate, obviously nothing can be done now.

      • Cameron is proving valuable as a CB. Initially I thought he offered something at CDM if we were backed into a corner.

        I don’t think we want to risk that now.

        I’m not sure we see Beckerman in the next game. JK may want to open things up a bit more.

  15. JK has said in the past that this US team will “take it to the opposition”. This is the game for that. Sitting back will be a mistake. Get the first goal and the Portguese “meltdown” will be complete.

  16. No like-for-like replacement for Jozy – no T Boyd or Agudelo – equals JK fail. The press should be merciless. Why is no one up in arms?

    • probably because we won our first game against favored Ghana despite not playing our best game, putting us in phenomenal position to continue on this tournament.

      Seriously, let go of your hate for JK. If you can’t see the good job he’s doing, you’re clearly new to the sport.

      • No, it is a very fair criticism to say there should ahve been a clear back up for Jozy. It is a mistake to not even have the option of playing the same style/formation that has been sucessful for the team. If boyd or agedelo are on the team Klinsmann would have had the option of not playing a different style in this game and could make the decision to change formations based on what he thinks would be best against POR. Building a roster that doesn’t give you options is evidence of a mistake. Hopefully we will overcome it.

      • And what if Wondo was just flat out better than Boyd..
        JK is big fan of Boyd, so he must have a reason for picking Wondo..
        I mean, since Boyd is German it’s a shocker he was dropped obviously….

      • yeah, he addressed this and said Wondo came into the team and scored goals in games. felt he deserved to be included. unfortunately for Boyd he was sacrificed despite being the #4 striker for all of qualifying.

      • Boyd is big, I fail to see how he resembles Jozy in the way he plays so do not understand all the comments that claim Boyd would be a like for like a replacement for Jozy.

        JK can wish he had solid backups for every starter, who could come in and have the team not lose a beat, but that is not the reality. It is not JK’s fault in the sense that he can want that, but it is players with the talent to fill those roles that are no where to be found.

      • He literally plays Jozy’s role every week for his club. You honestly believe he isn’t the same type of player?

      • It’s true. They are the closest thing we can come up with, but Boyd built quite differently…. wiry and atheletic — skillful and languid Jozy is stocky, with a low center of gravity, smaller turning radius, and a cannon shot. Boyd can score bicycle kick goals that Altidore never will, but he hasn’t shown he can tuck balls out wide with vision, or bully centerbacks in nearly the same way.

        It’s not an insult to him (some might even say it’s a compliment— not me really). Jozy is just a very unique proposition. Boyd is closer to AJ right now than Jozy in my mind.

        But it’s a small sample with Boyd, no doubt. I’d like to see more at the next turn (Copa 2016?)

      • no he isn’t. Boyd has said multiple times he considers himself a Jozy type striker. he plays that for his club team. AJ does not play the same role as Boyd.

      • What Boyd says he is … If I were in his shoes, I’d say “I’m the direct replacement for the first choice guy” too. Seems like if Klinsmann had agreed, he would have taken him. I agree he isn’t much like AJ– more of a comment about how unique Jozy’s style is than anything else.

        I don’t suppose you’ll come around to this… Agree to disagree then… Cheers.

  17. Time for the 4-6-0.


    Play defense and win on a set piece.

  18. I think this is a perfect game to start Wando!!! He is just the type of player that Portugal has probably never heard of. They will forget about him, and he will get into sneaky spots and he will be a threat! Put Bedoya on the bench and start Zusi. Bedoya was worn out and looked like a slight injury concern with his hip. Manage his minutes. As the game wears on, you can bring in Bedoya for Zusi to blow by Portugal defenders. And when Wando has worn down, bring in the Iceman.

  19. A draw would be a great result especially if Germany beats Ghana. Ghana would then be out and Portugal would have to make up 5 goals on us in the last match. Possible but not likely.

    • Technically, the best case scenario is a Germany-Ghana draw, meaning we automatically advance if we win.

      But neither of those scenarios is more likely than it’s counterpart, so I would LOVE your outcomes.

      • If we win, we advance with either a German win or a tie. A German win is best for us because it eliminates Ghana. Then if we tie Port, we just have to focus on the goal differential versus Portugal. If we win, we’re through.
        A German tie only helps in the off chance that we beat Portugal and tie or beat Germany. In those scenarios, we’d win the group. But a German-Ghana tie and a US-Port tie means the entire group is still in play going into Game 3. That’s BAD for the US.

    • In your result, GER and USA could kick the ball off and then stand around for 90′ and both would go through with 7 and 5 points respectively. The best POR could do would be 4.

  20. He works hard. If he occupies defenders, he’s doing his job. AJ did not. Granted he had very little service but he also failed to occupy the defenders from Ghana. Wondo will. I think we need to be pro-active against Portugal. Yes CR#7 has breakaway speed, dazzling moves, and a powerful shot, but he really pissed off his teammates against Germany. He may have to try to be selfish, which we will see if he’s successful. IMO, it would be easier for him if he supported his teammates and he might get the ball more. Didn’t Germany get two rebound goals and a header? That’s just perfect for Clint and Wondo.

    • Aaron Johansson was a feather weight going up against those big Ghanaian defenders. They could damn near walk right through him and push him off the ball at will and let him go into only the channels that they choose to leave open for him. He couldn’t really dictate the outcome of any play. I think Aaron needs a 442 or can only be used effectively as fresh legs, maybe use speed or light weight to draw or force fouls from tired defenders.

  21. Ugh, where are Boyd, Agudelo, or Johnson when you need them?

    Maybe be radical and drop into a 4-4-2 ? Then when we get the ball we transition into a 4-3-3?
    4-4-2 (defending):

    4-3-3 (attacking):

    1) Dempsey is not all that good at being a target foward, so this formation will cause him to have to step up or play worse than normal. that given, I feel this is the best plan for the team
    2) Requires a lot of work out of Johnson. I would expect him to need a sub at aroud 60 to 70 min.
    3) Exposes the right flank on transition. It would require Bradley to be extra disciplined and not move to the middle or left side of the park at all. Especially with Ronaldo lingering. Chandler would also have to step up.

    • absolutely. this idea we have to play a 4-2-3-1 makes no sense to me. it no longer fits our personnel with Jozy out.

      • defensively our shape was clear against ghana. 4-4-2. Jones as a left mid is a little weird, but defensively it was necessary. I think we want to attack Portugal a bit more. Jones at left mid will be an odd start if it happens again.

      • You hit on my line-up! I am glad I am not the only one crazy enough to think 4-4-2 with Fabian in the midfield is the way to go.
        Pluses of this lineup include:
        1. Johnson (or I would even consider Bradley though not a traditional wide player) running behind Renaldo and at a CB playing LB. It is clear to me Fabian is one of the few creative players we have and he will be able to feed Dempsey and Wondo on their creative runs. Oh and also, he is a FB and capable of tracking back giving essentially 3FB coverage on CR7

        2. Still have our two CDM in front of the back line.

        3. Jones, maybe our best hustle player, giving support to Beasley on Nani whom I would think we will struggle with.

        IMO this will be a nightmare for Portugal as we will be overwhelming two reserves backs with Wondo hounding them, Bradley and Johnson working their side of the field and Dempsey cutting to and fro in the mean. Beckerman can slide over to give Bradley cover if the attack if slowing over there and Jones then can support the middle of the field.

      • would love to see a 4-4-2. also, against Ghana, once we scored that goal, we basically stayed in a xmas tree formation. but like you said, Jones was out wide a lot more often than he was against Nigeria (defensively).

        i think if we go with the 4-4-2, Jones will end up sticking to that LM position. but he won’t be out as wide as a traditional LM. the difference will be that, like against Nigeria, he will press forward A LOT more.

  22. This might sound crazy but hear me out. I actually would start Wondo up top. The reason pretty simple, the conditions in Manaus is going to be ugly. One only had to watch the England/Italy match to see this and Sunday its supposed to be even hotter. Wondo is arguably the best condition guy on the team and could adjust to it better then say Jóhannsson.

    My plan with Wondo would be to just wear out the back line of Portugal. I don’t care if he misses three sitters. His job is simply to wear Portugal down. The conditions are going to play in favor to the USA better then Portugal. Simply be a pest for 70 minutes, draw fouls, maybe even a few cards. Then in the 70th minute or so bring in some fresh legs to attack the worn out back line.

    • That’s not crazy. I’d bet that’s exactly what will happen.
      Deuce doesn’t play alone up top.
      We’re not going to play in a shell, which means either AJ or Wondo..
      I’m betting Wondo

    • I certainly like this better than putting Demps up there alone. If he’s already got a mashed face I don’t see how you give him the responsibility to frustrate the Portugal back line all by his lonesome. I think you’ve got to keep roughly the same formation as Ghana then just tell Wondo and AJ, (whomever starts/subs) look, time to step up, go score.

  23. Honestly, we can’t just plug in a player and hope to play the same style. Altidore’s greatest asset is his ability to keep CBs busy. I think putting Diskerud in a FW position is our best bet. No, he possesses none of Altidore’s skills, but, like Dempsey, he has a penchant for being in the right place at the right time, and giving defenses a hard time. If this doesn’t work, we have the option of bringing Johannsson off the bench in his place. Johannsson has been better as a late game substitute anyways.

    IMO Wondo is only useful as Dempsey’s backup, when Altidore is the focal point of the attack.

    • “…he has a penchant for being in the right place at the right time, and giving defenses a hard time.”


  24. If we come out and play defensive, it will be a colossal mistake. Portugal got rocked by Germany because they took it to them On top of that Portugal is going to be missing 2 or 3 defensive starters. Their back line which was already weak, is now weaker. Sitting back will invite Ronaldo and Nani to get time on the ball and go at our defense. For this game the best defensive will be a good offense. I want to see an offensive lineup. If Ronaldo is healthy he’s going to get one whether we play defensive or not. We need pressure, possession and goals. I say go for it with:

    Greene Bradley Jones Zusi
    Beasley Brooks Cameron Johnson

      • yup. I don’t know why we don’t do that. I like BMD as much as anyone but the guy is clearly a liability in the back and other teams absolutely know that.

      • Because right now, Cam is playing better than any other CB… and considering Gonzo clearly has regressed, and even though Brooks is the greatest American since Abe Lincoln, Cam is too valuable in the middle

  25. I would go with Wondo over Johannsson. Aron is a more gifted player, but he did nothing against Ghana, and I’m not sure how hard he will work. Wondo, at least, will work hard and will be all over the field harassing the Portuguese defense (something that worked quite well in 2002). Probably won’t last more than 60-65 minutes, though.

    • If he runs the channels, plays defense, and plays like Herc was doing in 2012 and the Snow Bowl, he’ll have done his job. I also think AJ was unprepared to come in and then played poorly. I think he will be more effective coming in for 25 minutes or so. We may see the appearance of Julian Green or Brad Davis as well, depending on the result. A draw doesn’t hurt us and would require Portugal to make up 5 goals in GD against us (possible). A win clinches a spot in the knockout round.

      • Hopefully, Germany beats Ghana, clinches a spot in the next round, and will play reserves against us.

      • With a draw we are pretty much home if Germany beats Ghana. I just don’t see Ghana losing to Portugal by enough to make up the goal differential (even if Ghana is eliminated by that point).

  26. Here is to J Altidore coming back to play in the Germany match on Sun. He repeats the same form we had against them last time and we tie 2-2 with a Altidore brace.

      • It does sound nice… problem is, the tournament doesn’t end after the group stage. If we do what we gotta do and get through, we will likely play Belgium (who are LOADED with top European talent and beat us handily albeit without MB last summer) if we finish second. If, on the other hand, we finish first, we will face one of Russia/S.Korea/Nigeria. We’ve played all four in the last 18 months (D/W/W albeit with vastly different personnel on both sides). Take your foot off the gas and it could be expensive.

        Play to win, baby. It’s the only way. Sunday is the thing.

    • Here is to Jozy coming back in the first knockout round, which would have meant we beat (or tied with added good fortune) Portugal on Sunday.

  27. Wondo can chase down Portuguese defenders and help slow down their transition game. He’s also good in the air and will win free kicks. He’s a poacher.

    I don’t know if he can do it for 90 minutes in that sweat box in Manaus but he should get substatial minutes.

    • If we are playing to Wondo’s poaching abilities, I think we use him as a sub. The oppurtunities to poach are more likely to happen later in the game. I assume the offensive players will be the ones subbed, so Portugal’s defense will be more likely to make a costly mistake after playing 70+ min in the sweat box. I think we try and use Johansson’s skill and ability to make a goal for the first 60/70 min, then use Wondo’s ability to be at the right spot at the right time after Portugal’s defense lapses due to heat.

    • when in a 4-4-2. he is not effective as a hold up man which is why SJ plays with two strikers. Gordon or Lenhart playing the hold up role with Wondo making sneaky runs off them. i don’t think Wondo will do well in a 4-2-3-1.

      • Correct. We saw him unable to holdup effectively against a bunkering Azerbaijan. I don’t want to sell the guy short, but Wondo will effectively be on an island up there unless we exploit every chance up the wings… maybe Wondo can play as a false 9 in that case 😉

      • i think we played a 4-4-2 in that game. he replaced Dempsey as Jozy’s partner. either way, outside of his three early chances, he completely disappeared.

      • He just doesn’t have that in his game. I still think he’s a good starting option for reasons stated in other comments here, but just don’t expect him to keep he ball for us.

      • Didnt he start against Mexico with Dempsey? Didnt we look outstanding until Donovan came in? Well we dont have to worry about Lando so…

      • he did, in a 4-4-2. not as a target man. and we looked good but Wondo was really a part of that build up play or anything. in the 2nd half a simple tactical change from Mexico took him and Beckerman out of the game.

    • Wondo was a pretty good runner in HS. Something like a 4:16 mile. When he plays for SJ, he works hard the whole 90+ minutes so I am pretty comfortable with his endurance. If the US has enough possession that he can make the defense work, he will not be the first one to get tired and make a mistake.

    • This is an interesting point… watching Portugal against Germany, it was obvious that getting under the Portuguese players’ skin is achievable and has noticeable consequences. Wondo would be perfect for this (heck, too bad it’s to late to call Lenhart)

  28. This is why Boyd should have made the cut over a Wondo or Julian Green. He is the most similar in playing style and drive to Jozy and has been in great form. Also I want to see him spontaneously combust when he finally scores for the usmnt

      • it was an easy call before hand. JK brings Boyd to every single A team game as Jozy’s back up leading up to the Cup and then decides at the last minute to bring a guy like Wondo who got hot late. i think that was a bad idea. not a knock on Wondo, but the reality. there was NO reason to have Dempsey, AJ, and Wondo.

      • Apparently it wasn’t as easy a call to make, considering Jurgen saw all three of them in training and decided to leave Boyd behind. I agree with you, I would have wanted Boyd on the squad since he is the most natural replacement for JA and was also called up on a regular basis. It didn’t make sense to me that Jurgen left Boyd behind. But if it doesn’t make sense on the surface, then you can sensibly assume that Boyd just didn’t show well in training.

      • to me, it’s still an easy call. obviously can’t comment on how each performed in camp, but based on JK’s comments, they both did well in camp but Wondo was rewarded for scoring in the games he played in.

      • Jesse, why? JK straight up said Wondo was selected due to his performances for the USA at the Gold Cup and the friendlies. wtf else is there to go off of?!

      • I’m not responding to your Wondo point at all. Only to the 4 words you used. Everything JK says if for reasons all his own. He doesn’t truly mean anything, unless you think he doesn’t mean it, in which case he does. He is a walking talking lie. He may know his soccer, but you can’t believe anything he says.

      • Jesse – come up with conspiracy theories all you want. but when JK responds to a question about Wondo being included and he says he deserved it based on coming in and scoring goals for the US, what else do any of us have to go on? especially when he seemed to take Boyd’s spot. this isn’t like the Green situation where he will never admit the kid had a golden ticket.

  29. I suggest 4-2-2-2 and counter:
    Dempsey Wondo
    Bradley Bedoya
    Jones Beckerman
    Beas Besler Cameron Fab

    This allows PHYSICAL help on CR7 while hoping Jones won’t get card 🙂
    AND to players up top who are fearless going forward. Easily tweak from Diamond.

    • If we are going to play two up front, beckerman could stay back and jones, bradley, zusi, would push forward in a 4-1-3-2. This would be an attack-minded lineup, and an unlikely setup given Portugal’s attacking ability. But heck, I’m not the coach, so I can dream.

  30. here is a crazy idea…so to replace Jozy, the team needs someone who is strong, can win headers, hold off opponents and have a decent passing touch-since AJ and Wondo don’t meet that descrption, how about a player who has played multiple positions before and has the skillset…. Geoff Cameron!


    • They are being incredibly hush about it which makes me think it is more serious. By keeping it quite other teams still have to spend at least some time game planning around what the US is when Jozy is out there. If it wasn’t serious no reason to keep it quite as other teams have to prepare if it’s not serious. The whole thing makes me sick because I was always a believer that Jozy was a vital player for this team (he brings so much with his hold up play that often gets overlooked on this site). Really wish Boyd or agedelo were on this team so we could at least think about playing the same style.

      • This kind of reminds me of the injuries that occur in the NHL playoffs when teams are completly quiet about them and only diagnose them as a “lower body injury.”

    • Yeah. That guy is not the expert his outfit might make him appear to be.

      Jozy is almost certainly done. We are not disclosing it because there is no reason to… we can’t replace him, and we don’t want to tip off opponents who might be preparing for the unique matchup he presents. Plus, even if it’s a 5% chance, it’s important to keep Jozy positive.

  31. So, now everyone will debate who will replace him in the starting XI.

    Most likely:


    Personally, I would choose Wondo for the first 60 minutes, and substitute Diskerud in to replace him after that.

      • I don’t know about trash, but certainly, he should not be in Brazil. Maybe Klinsmann should do what the purpose of his inclusion seems to be, give him a few minutes in any game to cap tie him.

  32. Jozy out is more a psychological impact than game impact. Granted, he did well against Nigeria. However, the team performed well without him before, an can again. There is enough striker talent up front with Iceman or Wondo. More concerning is how well our midfield can control pace of game and back 4 can keep goals out. A draw is critical, a win is a bonus. Let’s hope Bradley is back to his full talented self on Sunday. I BELIEVE!

    • Sorry, it’s not just psychological. There is no replacement for Jozy’s size/height/speed at the front. It WILL hurt the US significantly. Can they get a draw against Portugal? I think so, but that also depends on whether Portugal plays like Spain in this next game. Watched that Spain game. Just Shameful. Can’t understand how teams with that much talent can be so psychologically broken. US would never play like that if we had a previous poor performance. Just you wait. Bradley is going to be a terror. That being said, the US had a decent chance of going a little ways in this tournament but without Jozy they lose a HUGE dimension to their game. And I don’t seem him being back and close to 100% till quarterfinals or final. I don’t really think we make it that far. Definitely not without him.

      • +1. Really really sad. Felt like w/ Dempsey playing off of him nd Bradley at the head of he diamond we had a chance to compete with anyone on a given day. But now the best hope seems to eke out a point Sunday, bunker down in the Germany game and advance on goal differential (should Portugal beat Ghana), and hope Jozy can make it back for the knockouts.

      • I’m calling it now, we’re beating Portugal 3-2 on sunday!!!! People should have more faith in our team and relinquish this talk of hoping for a draw! Portugal may be in the top 5 according to FIFA but our mentality will shine as well as our talent! Can’t wait!

      • If you’re calling from 2002, I’d advise you to buy all the APPL you can afford. Trust me on this one.

      • And a little company called Google. Also, avoid buying large numbers of track homes in California.

      • 3-2 is INSANE!!
        WE BEET ‘EM 3-1 Baby!!!
        Portugal, easiest team in the group. They couldn’t even beat Israel if their qualification depended on it!!

      • That said, the bookies say that Portugal becomes complacement and they play down to their opponents level. The longer they stay in the tournament, the better they can get.
        If they get out of the group stages, their best playing might only emerge in the elimination rounds.

  33. Not entirely his fault since the U.S. was pretty much scrambling defensively the entire game, but Aron didn’t look very convincing. Could be wrong, but I don’t recall him getting a single shot at goal in about 70 minutes of play. Give Wondo his chance.

    • He hardly had a touch on the ball, and when he did, he was far from dangerous. I’d like to see Wondo too. If he gets service, he’s dangerous in the box.

      • I think your last sentence sums it up perfectly. “If he gets service”

        Did Johannson look good? No.

        Did he get any service? No.

        I don’t think we can really judge a forward on their performance if they don’t get any service.

      • Agree.

        I encountered someone who said they thought Aron was “AWFUL” Tuesday morning. I re-watched the game that night keeping this criticism in mind. He had very few touches the entire game. Yes, he did have one shot from about 18 yards that he didn’t hit cleanly, but I don’t think his performance was “awful” given that the US’ posture was almost exclusively defensive for the 70 minutes he was on the field. If you’re going to play Zusi or Davis to provide sound crossing for Wondo, then I could see him getting some run on Sunday, but I still say start Aron.

      • I’d agree he got no service, but it would have been the same if Wondo would have been used as the sub, not AJ.
        I think the difference is Wondo will run around like a banchee pressuring up top, which AJ and Deuce didn’t.
        So I’m betting on Wondo, with AJ as a sub

      • He got no service because he did not move to get away from the defenders. He was invisible to the midfielders and only got close to the ball when someone hit a long ball that was hopeful at best since he was not open for those either.

      • I disagree with you and agree with others who state that he got no service. The few times he got the ball was way outside the box and was immediately surrounded by Ghanaian defenders and no one to play with. It’s just the way USMNT played (the bunker down mentality that they don’t seem to get away from) that did not allow Johannssonn the possibility to make an impact in the game.

    • Aron was not good, but I’m not sure it can’t be fixed in short order. Look at his limited professional career in offense-minded leagues and it makes sense… that was almost certainly the first time he has ever played as a lone “pressure relieving” striker in his life. He looked like a rookie in this role because he WAS a rookie in this role. His positioning was terrible… standing WAY too far upfield, often beyond the half line, while the ball was deep in our defensive third– he was too far up to even lay the ball back to somebody on the handful of occasions he actually won a clearance from the back..

      That is inexperience, but it doesn’t mean he has to be removed. For starters, we will not be nearly so overmatched physically against Portugal. We can move the ball forward more patiently without being barged off every 50-50 ball. Portugal are not nearly so athletic or big. And more importantly, the attacking group will have worked together with him (assuming this is indeed the personnel) and they will know what to expect. The attack is based largely on an understanding of timing, particularly with the late-arriving runs that did not work out for us on Monday.

      I think both AJ and Wondo will play. I actually think this game is the reason destiny decided Wondo should be here. He will score.

      Having said that, I think we start AJ, if we choose to plug in another striker. He can work the ball from the midfield better (and if he can’t, he needs to learn… he is going to be in the front group for years). Wondo off the bench for the heroic close. Stoppage time hat trick, anybody?

    • I think he is done for the tournament and Klinsmann is doing some morale damage control by not announcing it. That injury, as bad as it looked, would take three weeks before a recovery could be initiated.

  34. False 9 time for the US. No sense trying to force someone to play the lone striker role, when we don’t have anyone to play it.

      • Why do you say that? Has he ever played in that role for club or country? Has the USMNT ever played with a false 9?

      • Yeah, this is a ridiculous statement. I think people like throwing around terms like “false 9” and “inverted winger” to sound tactically advanced. Mix Diskerud has never and will never play as a false 9. He doesn’t have the skill set. Few do. You know who failed at being a false 9? Cesc Fabregas. If you want to tell me Mix can play a false 9 better than Fabregas, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

        Even if, magically, Mix turned into Leo Messi Lite overnight and was able to play the false 9… Who the h e double hockey sticks do you plan on playing on the wings? We do NOT have the deadly, incisive wingers necessary to exploit the space an effective false 9 would create.

        The tactical psuedointellectualism in this thread hurts.

      • Alex, I pretty agree,
        positionally and conceptually the false 9 can be quite loosely interpreted?.
        For me anybody who is not considered an out and out striker ala Jozy, or Wam, on the women’s side, could be thought of as such?.
        for example, J Green, is a player one might consider a close version of this?.
        To be a good false 9, to me means you have great attacking range, and are multi-talented/faceted in ability as it pertains to all areas of soccer.
        This type of player tends to be more confident facing the goal rather than with their back to it.
        Find one who can do both equally well, you really got something?.

      • I think the role of a modern false 9 is only loosely interpreted on boards like this. In reality, it’s a quite specialized and defined position, that few players (let alone teams) have the skillset to pull off. In many ways, it’s more of a style of play (possession and attacking) than it is a single position. To suddenly think the US can adopt this because it works for Barca and Bayern is amusing

      • Guys. Why do you think Mix would be the False 9 (assuming he is in the game)? False 9 is a dumb expression, but it would be Dempsey.


      • In the MLS, maybe. Against Portugal in a critical game? He’s too easily dispossessed of the ball. No way.

      • Jozy is out,no one can replace him. All posting of line-ups and hoping for luck doesn’t change that fact.

        To have any chance against Portugal we must play a false 9. And yes there is one player on our team that has experience playing it. Of course he only played the position in training with the Bayern first team.

      • Haha, I needed a good laugh. But, the thought did cross my mind, putting Julian up there, expecting him to make runs to widen Portugal’s back line, and maybe be so lite that he draws penalties and set-piece plays without diving but without having to take much impact either.

      • Mix would not do well in the false 9. The false 9 works when you’re Bayern or Barca and can patiently control the ball until an opening presents itself (and even then it doesn’t always work). The US will need to attack with pace on the counter and won’t have much of the ball against Portugal (even less against Germany). Dempsey up top, pace from Bedoya, service from Zusi, and runs into the box from Bradley–that’s the recipe.

      • haha, I have had this exact thought repeatedly. “False 9” always sounds fancy and knowledgeable, until you realize it makes no sense for us.

      • But Lalas said it the last 2 nights on espn, that we may go with a false 9 situation.
        So if Lalas said it, it must be 1000% valid.. even if we’ve never played with a false 9 and don’t have the personnel to play it.

      • Lalas’ analysis is pretty much like his play. Lots of bluster, little substance but a great sense of how to market himself.

      • These are the same people who say “pitch’ “footy” “flying wingbacks” “football” & other corney pseudo-Brit expressions.

      • “footy” – great example, I laugh everytime. If anyone on this board ever uses “keepie uppie” I will have lost all faith in US SOCCER fans

    • You need to be good at keeping possession to play a false nine. Also would help to have speedy wingers/forwards (Alexis Sanchez, Neymar, Reus, etc) that play high up and have an eye for goal. Spain and Germany we are not.

      • Good thing we’re not Spain. We’re undefeated in this tourney so far, they are eliminated already.

      • Will one of you geniuses name a team besides Spain at Euro 2012 who played “False 9”? Will one of you claim to have heard of that expression before that tournament? Who? When? Show me a single Youtube clip anywhere in history when an play-by-play guy, color guy, or halftime analyst discusses the “False 9” prior to Euro 2012. It’s a term applied retroactively to the Messi Barcelona sides, and occasionally to the (not very good) Roma sides under Spaletti, as though to add some credibility and longevity.

        Funny hearing people dog ESPN analysis… they are the ones who tought you that nonsense! It’s what you do when you have cr@ppy forwards… that’s all folks!

  35. Just play a 4-2-3-1 against Portugal. Keep the same back 4 if Besler can go, which it appears he can. Play Jones and Becks together in the holding area, and Becks will allow Jones to venture forward. Play Bedoya, Bradley, and Zusi in the line of three behind Dempsey. This is solid and will be tough for Portugal to break down, while basically getting all our best guys on the field sans Altidore. Dempsey doesn’t/won’t/can’t reprise Altidore’s role, but he’s still the guy we want closest to goal.

    If we end up needing a goal, take off Bedoya or Zusi and put on Johansson to play as a wide forward. If Jones or Becks gets worn out, move MB back and bring on Mix.

    • I think this lineup works for Portugal, provided Bradley stays home to disrupt the distribution to Ronaldo. He’s the best player for Portugal by a mile and everything goes through him.

      • Portugal is not much without Ronaldo (especially when they’re also missing Pepe, due to the bonehead play of the tournament), and Ronaldo is just not all there yet from his injuries. Shut him down (double team), and we have a great opportunity.

      • i actually think the biggest loss for them in Fabio. that guy creates so much for them. and now they have to play a CB at LB.

    • That is almost exactly what I was thinking. Basically it plays like a 4-5-1 with the 5 arranged as a +:


      I could also see something crazy like FJ being moved to left mid in place of Bedoya and Chandler starting at right back if there are concerns about Bedoya’s fitness.

      • +1 – it’s gets our best 11 on the field.

        I see a few people suggesting Green, which is crazy. He’s looked nothing but overmatched every time he’s seen the pitch.

      • Yeah, it’s a shame we don’t have an experienced midfielder who can also play up top. You know, like Landon Donovan. Boy, those dumb managers who brought Forlan, Tim Cahill, Eto and Drogba, all two years or more older than Donovan. They’re not smart like Klinsmann.

      • Cahill Eto and Drogba are all a lot bigger than Donovan. They got ups for headers, strength to muscle through people, and speed to match (ok cahill aint got the speed). Donovan only had the speed, and he aint got that any more. He came into the camp fat for Christ’s sake.

        A Portuguese defender will fly through the air, and “accidently” collide with Dempsey’s face, making sure to throw an elbow right into his nose for good measure once he has his body obstructing the view of the Ref.

      • Heh. Of those old-timers, your proper comparison might be MB90 or Altidore. Plus they’re not all exactly turning the tide …

        Forlan (URU): on the bubble … made little impact as they were beaten by a CONCACAF team in the first game, Suarez was the difference in the next game, maybe with him they can get past Italy to advance?

        Cahill (AUS): Eliminated already after two matches.

        Et’oo (CMR): Eliminated already after two matches.

        Drogba (CIV): on the bubble … seemed to have some impact when he came off the bench vs. Japan, but to me it looked less tangible and more like moral support; I couldn’t watch it today, did he make any difference coming in from the bench vs. Colombia? Perhaps they get past Greece to advance.

      • What on earth are you talking about? Forlan? You mean the guy who was benched today after failing to make an impact in the Costa Rica loss? Eto’o, the guy on the team that hasn’t scored in Brazil and most likely won’t manage a point (or goal?). Drogba? The goal-less substitute for the Ivory Coast team that *might* back out of the sorriest group in the tournament.

        Cahill is the only guy has performed for d*ck, and he is an automatic selection for his (that is also going home with zero points), and he has absolutely nothing to do with Donovan in style.

        Nice argument. Klinsmann is obviously a dummy.

      • At some point, because we lack a true target fwd, I think a 3 5 2 might work. Jermaine and Beasely as wingbacks and Dempsey and Johannson up front in tandem. think we’re going to need goals as the tournament moves fwd.

      • Really, Chandler in for Bedoya. You’re crazy! Beasley will play full minutes. Chandler against Turkey was horrible.

      • No Chandler agains Turkey was uneven with one horrid moment. Do YOU people not learn. Brooks had a bad game in a USA shirt once too. Chandler is fine, especially if you go 4-4-2 in line and keep him bottled at the back. Then he has pace to keep up with Renaldo (I think you play him at RB so that Fabian can move up) and you can enjoy a new attacking option with FJ closer to goal and less defensively responsible.

    • This is probably the way to go. Would not be surprised to see Chandler come on as a wide midfield sub, especially if we’re defending a lead. Would not be surprised to see Wondo play a role at some point either.


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