The U.S. men’s national team will be without one of its top offensive weapons Sunday, as it confirmed Thursday that striker Jozy Altidore will not play in the team’s group-play matchup with Portugal.
Altidore went down Monday just 23 minutes into the U.S.’ first game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a 2-1 win over Ghana. He was stretchered off the field and later diagnosed with a strained left hamstring.
23-year-old Aron Johannsson came on to replace Altidore and played the remainder of the game. He and Chris Wondolowski likely will be the top candidates to start in Altidore’s place against Portugal, which suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss to Germany in its opening game.
A win or draw against the Portuguese would put the U.S. in excellent position to advance out of Group G.
U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman told The Associated Press on Thursday that defender Matt Besler, who left Monday’s game at halftime and was replaced by eventual game-winning goal scorer John Brooks, should be available to play Sunday. Kammarman also said the team is hopeful Altidore will be able to return at some point during the tournament.