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Altidore cleared by U.S. medical staff to return to action

The U.S. international and Sunderland striker had missed his club's last match with a hamstring injury, but he has been given the green light to return to practice.

It appears that Jozy Altidore's recent hamstring injury will not prevent him from taking the field for the United States national team over the next week as it tries to secure its place in next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

U.S. Soccer announced that Altidore has been cleared by the federation's medical staff to return to workouts and practice after an MRI of his right hamstring came back normal, meaning that he may yet have the opportunity to build on his current five-game international scoring streak in a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

Altidore was forced to sit out Sunderland's 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace over the weekend with the injury. He was coming off a League Cup game in which he tallied his first goal since moving to the Black Cats from AZ Alkmaar.

According to U.S. Soccer, manager Jurgen Klinsmann is "optimistic" that Altidore will be available for selection when the USA takes on Costa Rica in San Jose Friday night. The USA, which is on a 12-game winning streak, has never won a qualifying match in Costa Rica and sits two points clear of Los Ticos atop the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings.

If the USA beats Costa Rica, Mexico ties Honduras and Panama loses to or draws Jamaica, then the Americans will have sealed their place in the 2014 World Cup prior to next Tuesday's rivalry bout against Mexico in Columbus.