Forward Jozy Altidore, limited to just 21 minutes of playing time in the World Cup, will be available for the U.S. for Tuesday's knockout-round game with Belgium. Whether he'll play, however, will be something Coach Juergen Klinsmann isn't likely to decide until just before the opening whistle.
"He's available," Klinsmann said Monday. "And this what we wanted. This is what we hoped for. Just having him with us is huge. How many minutes [he'll play], we'll see."
Altidore, U.S. Soccer's male athlete of the year in 2013, strained his left hamstring midway through the first half of the U.S. team's opening win over Ghana on June 16. That's the same hamstring he injured three years ago.
Altidore left the field on a stretcher and in tears. He began jogging slowly last week but he hasn't been able to fully participate in training since the injury. In his absence, the U.S. has scored just three goals and ranks last among the 32 World Cup teams in attacking, according to statistics compiled by FIFA.
"The medical staff has been working with Jozy and they have done a tremendous job, day and night," Klinsmann said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times