SAO PAULO (AP) — U.S. forward Jozy Altidore slowly made his way to the field Friday at Sao Paulo Futebol Club accompanied by trainers, his injured left leg taped.
Altidore was still smiling — even if this is hardly the way he envisioned his World Cup going.
“I’m hanging in there,” he said.
The Sunderland striker, who scored twice in his team’s final sendoff series match against Nigeria, strained his left hamstring in the first half of Monday’s 2-1 victory against Ghana in Natal. He will miss Sunday’s second Group G match against Portugal at Manaus.
Teammates and coach Jurgen Klinsmann are still hopeful he will play again in Brazil.
Klinsmann is likely to choose between Aron Johannsson — Altidore’s replacement against Ghana — and Chris Wondolowski to start Sunday.
“Jozy is a special player. You can’t — it’s like saying, `Hey, go be Cristiano Ronaldo’ — you can’t necessarily replace certain aspects of it,” Wondolowski said. “But I think both Aron and I bring different styles, different sets of skills that I think are useful, and I think that’s what we’re going do.”