On Monday the news most U.S. soccer fans had been waiting for arrived, as Jozy Altidore was declared fit to play against Belgium.
Good news all round for the U.S., as Jurgen Klinsmann now has a fully-fit squad to choose from and his attacking options suddenly look a lot more varied.
Pictures from ESPN showed Altidore laughing and practicing with the team on Monday, as it looked as though he had successfully recovered from his hamstring injury he suffered agianst Ghana in the USA’s opening World Cup match.
The big question that now remains is whether Altidore starts vs. Belgium, with Clint Dempsey dropping deeper in a supporting role, or if the Sunderland striker is only fit enough to make the bench and provide the U.S. with a real threat late in the game.
Update: Klinsmann is keeping his cards close to his chest and has stated that “we don’t know how long he can play… but he’s available.”
The 24-year-old American forward pulled up in agony midway through the first half of the USA’s 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16. Since then Clint Dempsey has started both the Portugal and Germany games up top on his own, plus the U.S. have also brought on Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski up top. However without Altidore presence as the lone man the USA have struggled to create in the final third and have certainly missed the Sunderland striker.
Earlier this week Klinsmann declared that he was “very optimistic” that Altidore could return but since then other reports have suggested that Altidore would not be ready.
Now we know he is, can the New Jersey native return to the lineup and cause havoc in and amongst the Belgian defense?