Jozy Altidore could be struggling to make the 2016 Copa America Centenario this summer.
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The U.S. national team forward, 26, injured his hamstring as he had his penalty kick saved for Toronto FC in their 4-3 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at BMO Field.
Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly be sweating on the fitness of Altidore who has a knack of picking up knocks just before big tournaments with the U.S. in recent years.
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Speaking after the game Toronto’s head coach Greg Vanney wasn’t sure how serious Altidore’s injury is.
“I don’t know specifically how he is,” Vanney said. “He said as he was approaching the penalty, on the take-off step, he felt it a little bit… [His hamstring] is the indication that I have. We’ll see.”
Altidore has endured a barren run in front of goal to open up the 2016 Major League Soccer season, failing to score in each of his last eight games. After missing a penalty kick and injuring himself in one fell swoop on Saturday, it seems like Altidore’s luck just isn’t in right now. If it is a serious hamstring tear, he could miss over a month. A minor one would even see him limited for the next few weeks.
The big question is: will Klinsmann name him in his final 23-man squad for the Copa America this summer?
Klinsmann has to name his squad on May 20, so that’s five days away. There were rumblings that due to Altidore’s fitness issues over preseason which saw him miss the opening two games of the 2016 MLS season, plus his goalscoring drought, Klinsmann was considering leaving him out of his final squad. Altidore was named in the initial 40-man roster by Klinsmann but if he made the final squad he wasn’t due to join up with the team until May 23 in Dallas.
Let’s see how serious this injury to Altidore is but on the back of Bobby Wood securing a big move to Hamburg, plus the emergence of Christian Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund, maybe this injury has helped Klinsmann not have to make a difficult decision in leaving Altidore out this summer.
We shouldn’t forget that Altidore has scored 34 goals in 93 appearances for the USMNT. However, after injuring his hamstring in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup and then being released from the U.S. squad during the 2015 Gold Cup last summer after concerns over his fitness, Altidore can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to his fitness.
For so many years he’s been the focal point of the USA’s attack but could this latest injury open the door for someone else to become the go-to guy in attack for the Stars and Stripes?