Chris Wondolowski: Replacing Jozy is like replacing Cristiano Ronaldo


Speaking with the media in Brazil ahead of Sunday’s game against Portugal in Manaus, it’s still unsure who will replace the injured Jozy Altidore at the front of the US attack, but that may not necessarily be what the team is trying to do.

With the main man down for the United States with a hamstring injury he blatantly suffered against Ghana, the combination of Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski will have to pick up the slack.

But picking up the slack doesn’t necessarily mean directly replace the man who went down.

“Jozy is a special player – that’s like saying ‘hey, go be Cristiano Ronaldo.'” said Wondolowski at a press conference in Brazil. “You can’t necessarily replace certain aspects of it, but I think that both Aron and I bring different styles, different sets of skills that I think are useful, and I think that’s what we have to go do is incorporate those skill sets, and fit into the game plan as well.”

With Altidore unable to go for at least the game against Portugal – and likely more, barring a miraculous recovery from what looked like a heavy tug to his hamstring – it seems increasingly likely that both men will somehow factor into the game plan at the front.

“We’re going to have to do certain things that Jozy did, and incorporate our styles as well,” Wondolowski said.

[ MORE: Missing Altidore: Who steps up? The case for Chris Wondolowski ]
[ MORE: Missing Altidore: Who steps up? The case for Aron Johannsson ]

Neither men would drop hints on who would get the playing time in Jozy’s absence – or the majority, at least – but with both men using the term “we” a lot, it sounds a lot like the time will be shared.

Whoever plays, whether it’s Wondo, Johannsson, or both, they won’t have the physical attack that Altidore possessed, but they will bring other things to the pitch, and it’s Jurgen Klinsmann’s job to utilize those new abilities on the pitch to their advantage, and look to punch holes in the Portuguese defense missing some pieces.

Juan Carlos Osorio to become new Mexico boss

Leave a comment

Mexico looks to have found a new manager in Juan Carlos Osorio.

Osorio, who had stints managing in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, was most recently coaching in Brazil with Sao Paulo.

However, the Brazilian club released a statement today that Osorio had decided to step down from his position in order to take the Mexico job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Following Miguel Herrera’s firing in July, Ricardo Ferretti was named interim manager of El Tri, and will coach the side in Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against the United States. However, Ferretti has stated he will not stay with Mexico past that match, and will return to Liga MX, where he serves as manager of Tigres UANL.

Osorio had recently been linked with the Mexico job, but said he would take his time in making a decision.

His only other exposure to Mexican football came during a short stint in Liga MX managing Puebla. He lasted just seven matches before resigning and returning to manage in his native Colombia.

[ RELATED: Donovan says Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico ]

He was in line to take charge of the Honduras national team in 2011, but he was unable to get out of the contract with the Colombian team he was managing at the time.

There has been no official confirmation of the hiring from the Mexican Federation.

Benzema and Benitez in a war of words at Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Rafael Benitez (R) of Real Madrid CF gives instructions to his player Karim Benzema (L) during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 26, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Karim Benzema has scored six goals in his eight appearances for Real Madrid this season, and is currently the top scorer in La Liga.

Despite being in great form, Benzema has continuously been substituted by manager Rafa Benitez, which has upset the French striker.

Benzema opened the scoring for Real in the Madrid derby over the weekend, but was taken off in the 77th minute. Atletico would go on to score minutes later as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

[ RELATED: Top moments from USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Speaking after the game, Benzema said he was “fed up” with being taken off, but will continue to work to help his team.

Substitutions are what the coach decides, I’m just there to help my teammates.

It’s true I’m fed up of being taken off. I’m calm and will continue to work so I’m not always subtituted. He took me off to get a result, for defensive reasons.

It’s true that the electronic board always shows the No.9. Ask Benitez why that is.

When told about Benzema’s comments, Benitez said he made the change for tactical reasons, as Real was in the lead and he replaced the striker with a more defensive-minded player in midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

I needed to give the team some balance at that point in the game. I’m a huge fan of Benzema. If I were Karim, I’d also be angry at being taken off when I thought I was playing well and was on a great run of form.

What I’d do if I were Karim is score more goals so that next time I don’t have to be taken off and can say, ‘Hey, here I am.’

Benitez’s response comes off as a backhanded compliment, asking Benzema to “score more goals,” despite the player leading La Liga in scoring. In fact, Benzema has averaged a goal every 84 minutes this season, an incredible strike rate.

[ RELATED: Chelsea release statement on Jose Mourinho’s future ]

Over the summer, Benzema was linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but he constantly denied the rumors and said he never thought about leaving the club, which he called the best in the world. Just a few matches into the new season, there may be some trouble in paradise.