SAO PAULO — Jozy Altidore has been ruled out of the U.S. national team’s World Cup match against Portugal on Sunday because of a strained left hamstring, a long-anticipated announcement made by the U.S. Soccer Federation on Thursday.
Altidore will continue undergoing treatment in hopes of returning to match fitness at some point in the tournament, USSF spokesman Michael Kammarman said. However, with two Group G games over the next week, the striker is not expected to play again unless the Americans advance to the knockout stage.
Even then, his availability is uncertain. The USSF declined to discuss the severity of the injury, suffered in the first half of the 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday in Natal. Altidore underwent an MRI scan upon the delegation’s return to Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
Meantime, central defender Matt Besler, who departed at halftime of the Ghana match with tightness in his right hamstring, trained with the team Thursday and will be available for selection against Portugal.
Despite suffering a broken nose Monday, captain Clint Dempsey is planning to start again this weekend in Manaus. He has not decided whether to wear a protective mask.
With Altidore out, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann will weigh replacing him with another forward or use five midfielders behind Dempsey.
“It’s bad news, but the team will handle it,” midfielder Jermaine Jones said of Altidore’s injury. “I don’t know how [Klinsmann] will play and what formation he will play. But everybody is ready and wants to make the next step.”
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