United States men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he’s “very optimistic” that first-choice striker Jozy Altidore will play against Belgium in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.
Altidore strained his hamstring 23 minutes into the team’s opening group game against Ghana and hasn’t played since.
With no clear replacement, Klinsmann has resorted to using Clint Dempsey as a lone striker against Portugal and Germany. The U.S. succeeded in getting out of the group, but results have been mixed without Altidore up top.
Against Belgium — yet another team that will likely enjoy the bulk of possession against the U.S. — Altidore’s hold-up play could give the Americans a different dimension that we saw against Ghana and Germany.
“We are very optimistic. Every day is a big step forward for him,” Klinsmann told SI’s Grant Wahl about Altidore’s status.
Optimism isn’t that same as concrete evidence that he’ll be fully fit, so we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here. But the U.S. could sure use him.
He’s jogging around, for what it’s worth:
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