2014 Word Cup: US National Team Notes Going Into Portugal Game

Kevin C. Cox

Jozy Altidore ruled out for the Portugal game.

The United States national team is preparing for their big meeting on Sunday evening in Manuas, Brazil with Portugal. Plenty of little notes to get to from Brazil.

Altidore ruled out

First and foremost, striker Jozy Atlidore has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Portugal due to a strained hamstring that he injured in the Ghana game.

It sounds like he could also be out for the Germany game as well next week too. Altidore was hurt in the 21st minute of Monday's 2-1 win over Ghana, and the U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday he will not play against the Portuguese.

U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman did not reveal the severity of the strain. The Americans have just three days off between this weekend's game in Manaus and their first-round finale in Recife on June 26.

"He's a big player for us," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "We're extremely bummed for him and for the team, but we bring 23 players, and it's just a chance for somebody to step up. Hopefully the injury's not too bad and we can see Jozy later in the tournament."

Who could step up?

The big ponder centers around who will Jurgen Klinsmann use to replace Alitdore at the top of the US attack. He does have a couple options:

1. Use Clint Dempsey. The most likely of the options that come to mind is moving Dempsey into the lone striker role in the 4-2-3-1 formation. While Dempsey works best with someone above him in the lineup, he has shown at times to be effective in this role for Seattle and other clubs.

2. Give Aron Johannsson a go. One of Altidore's former teammates in Holland, Johannsson does best when he is working off of someone. He had a ton of goals (26 to be exact) this past season in the Dutch first division, so it may just be a matter of getting him on the field and finding him in space. Goal scorers like him just need momentum.

3. Try Wondo. The last option could be to give one of the best MLS strikers a chance in Chris Wondolowski. Out friends at Center Line Soccer give you the reasons why Wondo should be the pick here instead of the other two options.

Where to watch in Dallas

While many bars and hangouts will be big for this game, I cannot stress enough how cool the FC Dallas watch party at Klyde Warren Park will be. RSVP here on Facebook for this event, it will be cool folks. Seriously.

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