ESPN has some early updates on Clint Dempsey’s nose and Jozy Altidore’s hamstring.
UPDATE: Clint Dempsey has a broken nose. Jozy Altidore’s strained left hamstring will be evaluated this afternoon.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 17, 2014
This TV reporter in Portland, Ore., should win a Pulitzer for breaking-news coverage.
Lost amid the celebrations over John Brooks’s game-winner against Ghana on Monday night is the fact that the U.S. soccer team is a banged-up bunch. Jozy Altidore left the game in the first half with a strained hamstring (it’ll be evaluated Tuesday) and Clint Dempsey suffered a broken nose.
USA Today’s Nancy Armour writes that if the United States doesn’t make it out of the group stage, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann is to blame because he left Landon Donovan off the squad.
But the euphoria can’t mask the issues the Americans have – issues that Klinsmann has to answer for.
The furor over Klinsmann’s decision to drop Donovan has largely died down since the U.S. got to Brazil. But the sight of Jozy Altidore being carted off 20 minutes into the game with a hamstring injury, might very well come back to haunt Klinsmann.
Donovan may not be the player he was four years ago, when his goal in stoppage time carried the U.S. into the second round in South Africa. He may not even be the player he was last summer, when he went on a scoring spree that carried the U.S. to the Gold Cup title.
But he’s not washed up, either, and he would have been just the kind of insurance policy Klinsmann and the U.S. could use right about now. Start him or bring him on as a sub. Either way, the Americans definitely could have used his skill and savvy Monday night, to say nothing of the upcoming games against Germany and Portugal.
Armour also questioned the team’s fitness, especially because Klinsmann places such a high value on it.
Just as he did with Germany in 2006, Klinsmann has made fitness a priority for his team. Training sessions are more frequent and challenging, and he and his staff track every physical data point possible. So while other teams fretted about the conditions in Brazil, the Americans dismissed them. Few teams would be fitter, they scoffed, or more prepared for the elements.
But on a night when the heat and humidity weren’t all that oppressive, Matt Besler couldn’t even make it into the second half and several players were gasping and clutching at body parts. Instead of looking like gym rats after being under the watchful eye of Klinsmann and his staff for the last month, a few looked more like guys on a rec team trying to shake off the winter sloth.
Besler’s substitution was only a precaution, Klinsmann said. But it forced him to keep Beasley on at the half when it was clear he was in over his head with Ghana’s fast-paced attack. Ghana may as well have taken up residence on the right side for as much as the Black Stars went after the four-time World Cup veteran.
It was only their spectacular lack of accuracy that kept the score from being 6-2.
Every Saturday during the fall, the Washington State flag makes it to the shooting location of ESPN’s “College Gameday” football preview show. The tradition started in 2003 and continues to this day.
Now, the Cougars’ flag has made it to Brazil for the World Cup, as this (somewhat blurry) photo shows.
Your engagement story pales in comparison to Nick Brusich’s, who asked his girlfriend to marry him at halftime of the USA-Ghana World Cup game in Brazil.
ESPN’s World Cup TV ratings are highest in DC. Next three: San Francisco, New York City and Boston.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) June 17, 2014
Dan Steinberg of the D.C. SportsBog will have more on this later Tuesday.
Fritz Hahn of the Going Out Gurus is back with the latest “World Cup Lunch,” this time focusing where to watch Belgium-Algeria, which kicks off in about 45 minutes.
Here’s Mario Balotelli’s sticker book, a photo taken from his official Facebook page.
Mario Balotelli’s World Cup panini sticker book is outstanding… pic.twitter.com/Ehuc4k86lR— SPORT Humour (@SportHumour) June 16, 2014