Team USA might receive a boost Tuesday when it faces Belgium in the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Star striker Jozy Altidore sat out the USA’s previous two games with a hamstring injury that he suffered in the World Cup opener against Ghana, but he could play in the knockout round.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann told the media Friday that Team USA is “very optimistic” about Altidore’s availability against Belgium. Altidore has been jogging around the team’s facility.
Defensive midfielder Jermaine Jones is set to play against Belgium despite breaking his nose Thursday against Germany, U.S. Soccer confirmed. He, like forward Clint Dempsey, won’t wear a protective mask.
Team USA snuck through group play and into the Round of 16 when it lost 1-0 to Germany and Ghana lost 2-1 to Portugal on Thursday. Since the Americans have advanced to knockout play, they must beat Belgium to advance in the tournament.
Photoa via Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports