Altidore remains a question mark ahead of USMNT qualifier vs. Costa Rica

Jozy Altidore

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — It is looking more and more like the U.S. Men’s National Team will have to make do without one of their most in-form players vs. Costa Rica.

Jozy Altidore remains an injury concern ahead of the Americans’ World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Friday night due to the thigh injury he sustained while training with Sunderland last week. Altidore was limited in training on Wednesday morning, and his availability for the match against the Ticos will be determined following Thursday evening’s practice at Estadio Nacional.

“We take it day by day. Today will be another big step to kind of make sure that everything is healed,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We did MRIs, we did tests, it’s all good, nothing can happen, but obviously he hasn’t trained at a full rhythm for 7-8 days, so you want to kind of just get him there.

“We see this afternoon, we stretch him a bit more and more than yesterday, now how is he feeling.”

The loss of Altidore would be a big one for the U.S., but Klinsmann will still have a number of options should the 23-year-old striker not be able to suit up. Among Klinsmann’s options are Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Aron Johannsson and Landon Donovan, who made it sound as if he preferred to play up top at this point in his career when talking to the media on Wednesday.

“Recently, I’ve been playing a lot as a forward,” said Donovan, who spent time up top and as a right midfielder during the Gold Cup in July. “I think that’s been going well and I feel comfortable there. I am happy to play wherever, as I always have been.”

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What do you think of Altidore still being a question mark ahead of Friday’s game vs. Costa Rica? Expecting to see him on the field in any capacity against the Ticos? Who would you like to see Klinsmann deploy up top if Altidore can’t go?

Share your thoughts below.

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76 Responses to Altidore remains a question mark ahead of USMNT qualifier vs. Costa Rica

  1. Ben says:

    If there is no Altidore, I think Jurgen goes:
    Landon – Dempsey
    Fabian – Jones – Bradley – Zusi
    which I am quite comfortable with. We lose Jozy’s hold up play, which has been excellent, but I don’t think EJ can really replicate that anyway.

    • Joe says:

      Not sure if Jurgen will go for it, but agreed, I think without Jozy this is as good as we can hope for. Jurgen does seem to highly value EJ, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the start.

      • Lprevolution says:

        I think that EJ, Mr. wannabe “show me the money” “yall driving subarus stuck in your cubicles im stuck in the air with weed (money) crumbs under my cuticles” Can do the job if there is service. who provides that better? Donovan, Zusi, or Bedoya?

  2. Colin in MT says:

    Maybe I’m just overconfident and discounting the fact that we’ve never won there in a WCQ, but I’m not too concerned about missing Altidore for this game. Would I feel more confident if he was there? Absolutely, but I don’t think missing Altidore will impact the result as much as say, missing Michael Bradley would.

    • kmac014 says:

      Missing Michael Bradley would be the biggest loss by far, remember all the last times they played without him? (not talking about the GC)

      • Nate says:

        in the run of this streak, Altidore has been far more important for “results” since he’s the one scoring goals. Hard to argue that a guy who doesnt even get many assists is the most important player on a team. Name another national team whose best player is a DM who doesnt score goals, can’t beat guys off the dribble or get a lot of assists… Brazil ’94? Not even…

  3. Sergio of SF says:

    I think we will see Altidore rested for Mexico. And will see a Dempsey, and Donovan up top with Zusi on the right wing and F. Johnson on the left.

  4. AcidBurn says:

    Keep Altidore on the bench for this one. I see JK playing rope-a-dope, starting EJ and hoping to get to halftime scoreless, then swapping out EJ for Johannsson and moving LD up top, going to 4-4-2 and putting the pressure on the Ticos.

    If you need a goal late, then you could put Jozy on to try to salvage a tie. Otherwise, play it safe, take the draw if necessary, and go for the win in the 2nd half.

    • MiamiAl says:

      +1

      A tie would still be an excellent result.

    • Gary Page says:

      My thoughts, too, except I would wait until later to bring on Johannsson. Like maybe the 65th or 70th minute. EJ does have speed to get behind their back line.

    • Mr_A says:

      I don’t think playing for a tie is his style, and I’m glad about it. Our team often needs to play beyond the refs’ ability to stop them. I think that’s what was behind the 5 and 6 goal games a while back. So I’m ask with you on some strategies and timing late bursts, but disagree on planning for a scoreless first half.

  5. bryan says:

    LD’s comments are pretty telling that he would like to start up top. makes me wonder if he’ll end up at RM after all. if he is up top, Bedoya at RM please.

  6. Flimflam says:

    Start Wondowlowski. If he doesn’t Jürgen is an idiot.

  7. John says:

    “who spent time up top and as a right midfielder during the Gold Cup in July”- I don’t remember Donovan playing on the right at all during the Gold Cup. He started the first half on the right in the friendly against Guatemala. At the half he moved forward and I don’t recall him ever being placed on the right after. I could be wrong.

    • paul says:

      the first half of the first game, he was on the right flank. at halftime they switch to 4-4-2 and put him up top.

    • bryan says:

      yeah, you are remembering correctly. LD played the Dempsey role for the Gold Cup team. where we saw Dempsey play against Germany and the WCQs is where LD played, mostly, during the Gold Cup.

  8. zarathustra says:

    #HANDSOFFSYRIA

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Dude, I happen to agree, am uber political myself… but try keeping this a soccer site.

      • zarathustra says:

        There will not be a WC next year if there is WWIII, so this IS a soccer issue.

        • 2 OKC teams 1 cup says:

          Would be funny if Ives randomly dropped that at the end of an article.. “What do you think of this news? Hoping Lichaj gets called into camp? Think the WC would be cancelled if WW3 broke out? Share your thoughts below. “

        • Nathan says:

          Well then lets all start posting about zombies, and meteors crashing into the earth, and massive tidal waves. Because if those things happen, there won’t be a WC either.

          So no, this is not a soccer issue, regardless of how badly you would like to exaggerate the realistic spectrum of outcomes.

        • Gary Page says:

          I have a BA in international relations and a lot of graduate work in the subject and have studied the Middle East extensively, but I refuse to discuss the issue here. Go to Huff Post or Daily Kos or something. You also might try Juan Cole’s Informed Comment. This site is for SOCCER.

          • Lil' Zeke says:

            I am the Am-freaking-bassador to Syria and could open you a new piehole with my mad Middle East chops, but I choose not to do so on this humble soccer site. So… back to Sasha, what what?

      • the count says:

        i think he may have been inferring that this injury is retribution for our country’s involvement in Syria.

        Mess with Syria? Top scorers’ hamstring gets it.
        But I may be wrong, I am afterall a vampire from a kids tv programme.

    • CCJC says:

      C’mon man! I come to this site to escape from all the political b.s. in the world. Don’t ruin this for us. I repect your passion for this topic but save it for the FOX & FRIENDS.

    • Chad says:

      Zarathustra: #HANDSOFFMYNUTSWHENIWANNAREADABOUTSOCCER

      • Brett says:

        I love how everyone says they don’t want to talk about it, yet commented on it instead of just ignoring it.

        • zarathustra says:

          In the words of our ex-president/war criminal -
          “Mission accomplished”. You can go back to sticking your heads in the sand now.

    • Jacknut says:

      #STICKTOSOCCER

  9. 2 OKC teams 1 cup says:

    Put Donovan up top and Bedoya on the right, problem solved.

    And so were clear, YES right now Bedoya > Zusi

  10. UclaBruinGreat says:

    I hope JK not calling in Kljestan doesn’t burn us in the end. It wont matter as long as Bradley doesn’t get a yellow card or pick up an injury, but if he does, Kljestan would have been the best replacement. Either Cameron or Beckerman can back-up Jones, but not Bradley. For Bradley, the back-ups are Kljestan, Diskerud and Torres. In a qualifier vs Mexico, I trust Kljestan more than Diskerud at this point.

  11. Frank says:

    Just moved to Long Branch, NJ and I don’t have bein sport. Anybody know a bar around here to catch the game?

  12. MikeV says:

    At the wing, Donovan>Bedoya>Zusi. Just my opinion.

  13. Chad says:

    So, how did ‘Thursday evening’s practice’ go?

  14. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    Is there a Thesasaurus for soccer words ? Someone needs to supply one for “in form”.

    Would much rather see LD in mid. People are all excited about the streak, me included, but for WCQ you are only talking a few games and before that we were all complaining and down.
    We needed LD to be able to lead the break, and at times take over a game, better done at some mid position, IMHO.

  15. Dennis says:

    I think Ives got it right in his earlier article.
    EJ
    FJ Dempsey Donavon
    Jones Bradley
    Beasley Besler Omar Cameron
    Howard
    It is hard to see how you don’t start Dempsey, Donavon and Bradley in any case. Altidore will be missed, but EJ has shown the ability to score headers and the outside mids Ives has behind him can all serve balls well and Dempsey is there to deal with second chances. Brooks, I think is unlikely to start ahead of Omar, but it would not be the first time JK threw a young player into the fire. Similar situation for Johannson.

    • Herschel skywalker says:

      Altidore – EJ/AJ
      Dempsey – Donovan
      Jones – Bradley
      FJ – Besler – Gonzo – Cameron

      BB was right. I am thinking these days that these are the best players at their best position, the it sacrifices Beasley and moves FJ to a position that is not his best. Still, as far as our best 11, most of whom are in the position that best suits them, I think this is it, and the backups like Zusi, Bedoya, AJ, basically play the same positions and plug in well.

  16. DC Josh says:

    Not having Jozy would be a punch in the gut for sure. But, our plethora of midfield options gives me hope we can get a result in Costa Rica.

    • AlexH says:

      I guess if Jozy can’t go, JK probably should go with EJ. I am not a fan of EJ but he is very good in the air and I think that it will be the type of a game in which the best scoring opportunities will come off of set pieces.