US injury update: Dempsey with a broken nose, Altidore’s status bleak

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The US experienced an emotional roller coaster in Natal tonight, but now the focus will be to look forward to a quick turnaround against Portugal on Sunday.

Something that will be a big concern for the US is their injuries they suffered during their match against Ghana.

We should start by saying nobody is fully fit in Group G. The Germans were without Bastian Schweinsteiger in their match against Portugal, and saw Mats Hummels helped off with a leg injury in the second half.

The Portuguese needed to sub off both Fabio Coentrao and Hugo Almeida with injuries, and had Pepe suspended thanks to his moronic red card. Finally, we saw Kevin-Prince Boateng come on in the second half for Ghana, which was more than originally expected, considering reports said he was out of the starting eleven thanks to an injury.

The United States came into Ghana at full strength, one of the only teams to enter the World Cup without any injuries, but they suffered a number of knocks against Ghana – some more serious than others.

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The first and most obvious is Jozy Altidore, who caught the crosshairs of the proverbial sniper in the 21st minute against Ghana.  He went down clutching his left leg, and was crying (according to teammates and coach) as he left the pitch on a stretcher.

His outlook is bleak. There is no official word from US Soccer yet other than it’s a “strain” and not a straight-up tear, but it’s likely that at this point, best case scenario for Altidore is that he maybe could return for any potential knockout round matches.

As ESPN’s medical analyst team pointed out after the game, a hamstring strain still involves a tear, but it’s not a tear of the muscle from the bone – thankfully – just a tear of the muscle itself. Therefore, it’s difficult to speculate how long he’ll be out.  However, there will certainly be a lot of swelling, pain, and discoloration for Jozy, and he almost certainly won’t be back for the match against Portugal.

Another player removed due to injury is central defender Matt Besler.  John Brooks replaced him and played incredibly well, defending well and scoring the game-winner, but having Besler back will be crucial going forward.

He was clearly hampered at the end of the first half with a hamstring injury of his own, and Klinsmann removed him at the break.   The only news we’ve seen is the original diagnosis from US Soccer, which was “tightness” of the hamstring. They called the substitution “precautionary” but it’s hard to see how Klinsmann would be “precautionary” in the biggest match in four years.

[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ]

Either way, that’s quite a bit better than Jozy’s situation, and depending on how he heals up in the coming days, it’s still very possible we could have Besler back for Portugal on Sunday.

According to MLSSoccer.com writer Franco Panizo, both Altidore and Besler were walking with noticable limps after the match, but that’s to be expected, as hamstring injuries can be incredibly painful.

Clint Dempsey took a John Boye shin to the face towards the end of the first half as retribution for schooling the Ghanian defender 32 seconds into the game, and confirmed after the game that he likely has a broken nose.

But we already knew that from the images we saw:

And the one we all reacted to on the ESPN broadcast when it first happened:

source:

Don’t try to tell me you didn’t turn to your buddy, cringing, and say “yea, that’s broken.” I did.

He carried on and played the rest of the game, and in the postmatch presser, he sounded like he both inhaled helium and held his nose closed.  If he can heal properly, there’s no reason why he couldn’t play in the ensuing games left on the US schedule, but he’ll likely wear a mask to prevent any further trauma to the nose.

[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ]

Finally, one that hasn’t been mentioned much is Geoff Cameron.  Nobody’s updated his status or even talked about him, and while the other CB played the full 90 minutes, he seemed to be cringing a bit and stretching his legs just before halftime.

It’s very likely he was just suffering from cramps, but definitely will be in the back of people’s minds as we await updates from US Soccer over the coming week.

One more note: not injury-related, but after the match, both John Brooks and Jermaine Jones were randomly selected for doping tests by FIFA.

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.

Luis Enrique leaves with feeling of mission accomplished

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MADRID (AP) Luis Enrique leaves Barcelona with no regrets and the feeling of mission accomplished.

[ MORE: Arsenal edges Chelsea to earn FA Cup crown ]

The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.

Now it’s time to enjoy some much-needed time off after three “intense” seasons, and let the club move on under fresh leadership.

“There is no sadness at all, just happiness,” Luis Enrique said. “I’m the one who decided to stop, and I think that it was a wonderful decision for me, for the players and for the team as well. The intensity of this profession demands maximum dedication every single day and there is a natural wear out.”

He said players always need new challenges and will benefit from a change in leadership, and the club will certainly keep winning despite his departure.

After missing out on the league this season, the Copa del Rey was Barcelona’s second title of the campaign to go along with the Spanish Super Cup, but Luis Enrique has won nearly everything since replacing Gerard Martino in 2014. The former midfielder led Barcelona to the treble of the Spanish league, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2015. He also managed the league-Copa double in 2016, and also won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2015.

He said he was “proud” to have helped Barcelona fans celebrate so many accomplishments during his time at the helm.

“If someone had told me when I arrived that I would have the opportunity to help my team win nine titles out of 13 that we played, I’d say that these would be good numbers,” he said. “It would have been nice to have won La Liga and contended for the Champions League title this season, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I believe that the fans recognized the effort and the sacrifice of all the players throughout the season. I have enjoyed the opportunity to make them happy.”

Luis Enrique said he was also lucky to have had the chance to coach a player like Lionel Messi.

“He is extraordinary, extraterrestrial,” Luis Enrique said about the Argentina forward, who scored the team’s first goal on Saturday. “I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy Messi at his best, performing at the highest level. He is the very best, without a doubt.”

Neymar and Paco Alcacer also scored at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to help Barcelona win its third straight Copa del Rey title, and 29th all-time.

Luis Enrique celebrated with his seven-year-old daughter by his side, waving his winner’s trophy and singing the club’s anthem in front of the Barcelona fans who traveled to Madrid.

Barcelona is expected to announce this week that its new coach will be Ernesto Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao a few days ago.

Luis Enrique’s future remains up in the air.

“I don’t know what I’ll be doing, really. I’m open to every possibility, including changing sports,” the 47-year-old Luis Enrique said, with a smile on his face. “I do know that I’m very competitive and it’s been like this since I was born. Right now I’m looking forward to the opportunity of enjoying my friends and my family.”

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Report: Reus could miss six months after sustaining knee damage

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Marco Reus missed much of the 2016/17 season with injuries, and the Borussia Dortmund attacker had that unfortunate spell continue on Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U-20 World Cup ]

The 27-year-old exited the club’s DFB Pokal final win against Eintracht Frankfurt at halftime after suffering a knee injury.

According to German outlet Bild, Reus will miss at least six months as he rehabs and prepares to make a comeback.

Despite the bad news for Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel’s men captured the title behind goals from Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.