SAO PAULO – The United States national team is hopeful there will be more than 20 minutes of soccer in the 2014 FIFA World Cup for Jozy Altidore, but coach Jurgen Klinsmann could not make a definitive statement on his striker’s availability for Sunday’s game against Portugal.
Altidore pulled up with a hamstring issue early in the team’s 2-1 victory Monday night over Ghana. He was unable to continue and had to be replaced by young forward Aron Johannsson. Altidore had an MRI done on his injured left leg Tuesday in Sao Paulo, but results of that test were unavailable.
“We have to see how he reacts in the next couple of days with his hamstring, and we are full of hope that he comes back still in this tournament,” Klinsmann said. “That’s what we are going to work on every day.”
Altidore has not been a frequently injured player. He appeared 41 times for Sunderland in all competitions this season, the third consecutive season in which he played in at least 25 club games.
Altidore scored twice for the U.S. in the final friendly game against Nigeria, giving him 23 career goals in a national team jersey. He has opened at forward for the Americans in consecutive World Cups.
On a dead sprint to run down a forward feed as the U.S. attempted to build on a 1-0 lead early in the Ghana game, however, Altidore stopped and reached to feel the back of his left leg. He was stretchered off the field.
“The medical staff has done a tremendous job,” Klinsmann said. “We still have hope that Jozy will come back. How quickly? That is down to his healing process.”