-- The star forward for U.S. who was injured just 23 minutes into the team’s surprise victory over Ghana on Monday at the World Cup says he is a “little sore” and has no date for when he will return to the soccer field.
Jozy Altidore played down his left hamstring injury in an interview on “Good Morning America” today, calling himself just “a little bit unlucky.”
“I’m not really going to say any timetable,” Altidore said when asked about when he could return to play. “I’m just going to focus on getting myself right…just staying mentally prepared and just doing my best to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
Altidore, 24, fell to the ground in Team USA’s first game after attempting to run onto a pass from midfielder Michael Bradley. Instead of getting the ball, Altidore pulled his left hamstring and was removed from the field on a stretcher.
The star forward, who hails from Livingston, N.J., is definitely out for USA’s Sunday match against Portugal so Altidore says he will be cheering his team on loudly from the sidelines.
“I’m just going to focus on getting myself right and being the best cheerleader possible for the team,” Altidore said on "GMA." “I think we have a lot of good players here that are going to step in right away and do a good job for us.”
The USA will have a challenge on their hands against Portugal, a formidable team, according to Altidore, even if their star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, sits out the game, like Altidore, with an injury.
“Yeah, that might help a bit,” Altidore said of Ronaldo’s potential absence due to a knee injury. “Whether he plays or not won’t really take away from the challenge but obviously him not playing might help a bit.”
Whether Ronaldo plays or not, Altidore predicts that a second Team USA victory will take the same "little bit of everything” the Americans demonstrated in their 2-1 win over Ghana that was decided by a header goal in the game’s 86th minute.
“I think there’s going to be times when we’re on the front foot and other times where we’re going to have to be defensively sound and other times when just pure will is going to have to get us through the game,” Altidore said. “I think we’ve been prepared for that over the years and I think Portugal will be another good opportunity for us to kind of show that to the world.”
While the eyes of the world will be on the game, Altidore says he and his teammates are most motivated by the dedication of their fans back in the United States who turned out in droves to watch Monday’s game against Ghana.
“I mean you look at Grant Park in Chicago, it was amazing, the 10,000 people that were there watching the game, it was fantastic” Altidore said. “We look forward to the same type of support throughout the tournament.”
“The support we get always from back at home is overwhelming,” he said.
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