USMNT coping with injuries as they prepare for Portugal

USMNT coping with injuries as they prepare for Portugal
June 17, 2014, 6:15 pm
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Soccerly.com

By Greg Moss

As Jozy Altidore was carted off the field, US fans held their breaths praying it was nothing serious. Clearly in pain after he pulled up as he bolted down the field, he clung to his hamstring quickly going to the ground. Altidore's status remains in question as he undergoes evaluation on Tuesday.

"I was sprinting and I felt something," Altidore told theguardian.com. "We'll see what happens. I was crushed. I knew right away I couldn't continue and it was the worst feeling."

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His misfortune wasn't the only to befall the Americans in their victory against Ghana. Clint Dempsey, who scored the game's first goal in the first minute, was kicked in his nose, which was evidently broken. And Matt Besler also suffered a hamstring twinge just before halftime, and was replaced by John Anthony Brooks.

"With Matt it’s no problem," said US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "I think we made the right decision. We held him out of the game so he didn’t get any injury, so he’s all fine. Now Clint has to work with his nose. It will hurt him for a couple of days. I broke mine three or four times; it’s alright. We’ll give him a few days. But it will continue to happen to all teams, injuries, problems, issues."

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Altidore, who had just begun to re-emerge from his scoreless shell, was a promising prospect going into Brazil. The style of play Klinsmann had implemented, essentially a 4-3-3 with Altidore and Dempsey slightly ahead of Michael Bradley, may have to be altered if Altidore is to miss any upcoming matches. Klinsmann was not concerned about the return of Dempsey and Besler.

"We’ve been having to ride him [Altidore] for the last four years," said US goalkeeper Tim Howard. "You see him go down, then Clint go down, Matty has to come off at half time. That’s why you build a team; you hope that the next guy can come in. I thought Aron did fantastic, and Brooks defensively was rock-solid and to get his goal, I’m just proud of him. "

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Aron Johannsson, who came on for the injured Altidore may have to fill his role, though he looked rusty off the bench at first, he seemed to find his feet as the matched played on. Portugal, whom the USA plays on Sunday, is also missing one of their best offensive threats, Pepe, due to a red card he acquired early in the match against Germany, which could give the Americans some relief. An ailing American side still found a way to win against Ghana, and will most likely have to adapt their tactics against Portugal, depending on injury reports.

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