If the United States is going to defeat Portugal on Sunday evening, the Americans are going to have to do it without Jozy Altidore.
Altidore has been ruled out for the match with the hamstring strain he suffered in the United States’ dramatic 2-1 over Ghana this past Monday. His status for the remainder of the tournament is uncertain.
“He will not be available for Sunday’s game, but we are hopeful he will be available in the tournament,” U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman said.
Altidore was injured during a run down the left side in the 21st minute. He came up lame, fell to the ground, and was taken off on a stretcher unable to walk-off under his own power.
What is also unclear at this time is who will take his spot in the starting lineup. Altidore is without a doubt one of the most dangerous offensive players on the US roster.
After struggling through much of the World Cup send-off matches, Altidore found his groove in the Americans final tune-up against Nigeria. He scored both US goals in a 2-1 win.
Before he went down with an injury, Altidore created a golden scoring chance, but his shot was blocked away. He went down on his next scoring opportunity.
Like the US, Portugal is also going to be without some of its top players. Pepe is out due to being given a red card and Fabio Coentrao will miss the rest of the tournament with an injury suffered in Portugal’s loss to Germany on Monday.
A win for the Americans on Sunday will virtually guarantee a spot in the knockout stage for the 2nd straight World Cup.