Skip to content
Union
Link copied to clipboard

Altidore might be available for U.S. vs. Belgium

Sidelined since straining his left hamstring in the World Cup opener, Jozy Altidore has been jogging and running for three days and might be available for the U.S. national team's World Cup Round of 16 match Tuesday against Belgium.

Sidelined since straining his left hamstring in the World Cup opener, Jozy Altidore has been jogging and running for three days and might be available for the U.S. national team's World Cup Round of 16 match Tuesday against Belgium.

"We are very optimistic," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Friday. "Every day is a big step forward. It's 11 days now, and it's looking better every day. So we are optimistic to have him be part of the Belgium game."

In Altidore's absence, Clint Dempsey served as the lone forward in the starting lineup in the last two Group G matches. Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore when the veteran striker left the Ghana game in the first half, but Johannsson has not played since.

After sitting out two matches and not training at full power for an extended period, Altidore is not a candidate to start against Belgium in Salvador. If he continues making strides, however, he would likely be in uniform and become an option late in the game.

Meanwhile, midfielder Jermaine Jones fractured his nose in a second-half collision with teammate Alejandro Bedoya during the Germany game Thursday, the U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed. It's a minor fracture, the USSF said, and like Dempsey, who suffered a broken nose in the group opener, Jones will not wear a mask.

Jones and Bedoya were evaluated for a concussion on the field and three times after the game, and all tests were negative, the USSF said.

The U.S. squad will train in Sao Paulo on Saturday before chartering to Salvador on Sunday for two days of preparation.

Attack!

Klinsmann is eager for his team to create more scoring chances against Belgium, after hardly attacking in the first round of the tournament.

The team had just 72 attacks during three group-stage games, according to FIFA. That ranked 31st among the 32 teams, ahead of only Costa Rica's 69.

The Americans were dead last in attacks from the left with 21 and tied for last with Iran with 29 from the center. Right back Fabian Johnson seems to be providing the spark for most forays upfield, advancing more often than left back DaMarcus Beasley.

Viewing frenzy

The United States' 1-0 loss to Germany was the second-highest-rated men's World Cup match on the ESPN networks despite the noon kickoff.

The game received a 6.7 rating on ESPN and was seen by 10.77 million viewers, ESPN said Friday. Viewers peaked at 12.06 million during the final half hour.

With the early start Thursday, the match was seen by a record 1.05 million on the WatchESPN app.

The game trailed only last weekend's 2-2 draw between the United States and Portugal, which received a 9.6 rating and was seen by 18.22 million viewers on ESPN and 24.7 million overall, including Spanish-language coverage on Univision.

The Americans' opening 2-1 victory over Ghana on June 16 got a 6.3 rating and 11.09 million viewers.