US says Jozy Altidore available to play vs Belgium

Jozy Altidore

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Jozy Altidore is available to play for the United States in Tuesday’s World Cup second-round game against Belgium, but it does not appear the forward is ready to return to the starting lineup.

Altidore strained his left hamstring in the Americans’ opener against Ghana on June 16 and didn’t play in their next two games.

“We don’t know how much because we need to see how he’s going, but he’s available,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Monday. “How many minutes? We will see that during the game.”

Altidore had been working out on his own, jogging around the field at the Americans’ training camp at Sao Paulo Futebol Clube. Klinsmann said he has to determine “how much work is in his legs.”

Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore at forward for the remainder of the game against Ghana. But Klinsmann switched from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-5-1 against Portugal and Germany with a fifth midfielder instead of a second forward.

Altidore has 23 goals in 71 international appearances and is the top forward on the American roster.

“Just having him with us tomorrow is huge,” Klinsmann said.

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