The Washington Post

Altidore MRI, Besler evaluation, Dempsey broken nose after World Cup opener

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, celebrating with Nick Rimando, left, DeAndre Yedlin, back, and Julian Green. (By Marius Becker — EPA)

SAO PAULO — U.S. striker Jozy Altidore will undergo an MRI exam late Tuesday to determine the severity of a hamstring injury that sidelined him in the first half of the 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday night in Natal.

Even in a best-case scenario, Altidore seems certain to miss the final two Group G matches: Sunday against Portugal in Manaus and June 26 against Germany in Recife.

Altidore’s prognosis probably will not be known in time for Coach Jurgen Klinsmann‘s media briefing after U.S. training late this afternoon at Sao Paulo FC.

After Monday’s match, Altidore said he hopes to return soon.

“We’ll see what happens. I would love to, but what matters is the team.”

Upon Altidore’s departure, Aron Johannsson entered the match but did not make an impact as the Americans struggled to retain possession and create quality opportunities until John Brooks‘s 86th-minute header.

Center back Matt Besler will also undergo an MRI scan, although, at the time, his hamstring ailment did not appear as severe as Altidore’s. He left at halftime with what was described as tightness in the muscle. Brooks took his place for the last 45 minutes.

The USSF confirmed captain Clint Dempsey suffered a nasal fracture, the result of John Boye‘s high kick in the first half. Dempsey remained in the match until the end. He will have the option of wearing a protective mask in upcoming matches.

After the Ghana game, Dempsey complained of trouble breathing through his nose but said he fully expected to play against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

Center back Geoff Cameron experienced light illness leading to the Ghana match but played 90 minutes, nonetheless.

Typical of the day after a match, the reserves went through light training while the starters, with the exception of the injured players, went through a regeneration session.

The U.S. squad boarded a charter within a few hours of the Ghana match ending and landed in Sao Paulo, its base throughout the tournament, around 3:30 a.m. The group was scheduled to hold a light training session at 4 p.m. but pushed back the starting time by 45 minutes in order to avoid an early rush hour, caused by fans heading home to watch Brazil’s 4 o’clock match against Mexico.

The Americans are not alone with injury concerns: Portugal’s Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid) was ruled out with a torn adductor muscle in his right leg, suffered in the 4-0 loss to Germany. Forward Hugo Almeida (hamstring) and goalkeeper Rui Patricio (thigh) are also ailing.




Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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