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Jozy Altidore unlikely to play in USA's next game against Portugal

United States' Jozy Altidore holds his hand to

United States' Jozy Altidore holds his hand to his face as he lies on the pitch after pulling up injured during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. Credit: AP / Ricardo Mazalan

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Matt Besler is a go and so is Clint Dempsey. Jozy Altidore doesn't look so good.

Altidore, with a strained left hamstring, appears doubtful for Team USA's World Cup confrontation Sunday with Portugal. He and Besler had MRIs in a local hospital yesterday.

Besler, sidelined at halftime of Team USA's 2-1 Group G win over Ghana with tightness in his right hamstring Monday night, was given a thumb's up by USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"Matt is no problem, all fine for the next game," he said of the center back during a news conference at Sao Paulo FC.

The same, however, cannot be said of Altidore, though Klinsmann was hopeful that the 24-year-old striker would be available later in the tournament. Altidore was injured in the 18th minute while chasing a ball down the left wing.

"We have to see how he reacts in the next couple of days with his hamstring," Klinsmann said. "We are full of hope that he comes back still in this tournament. That's what we are going to work on every day. The medical staff has done a tremendous job . . . How quickly? That is down to his healing process."

If Altidore is unavailable, Klinsmann can change his game plan, but he wasn't about to reveal his hand.

"I don't want to go too deep into details," he said, "because obviously we want Portugal to guess a little bit, as well, but you know when one of your key players is not available, does it change certain things? Absolutely it does. Jozy is a very strong key player in our group, so we'll think about the right way to handle that situation . . . We'll find solutions."

That includes a solution for Dempsey, who broke his nose when he was kicked in the face in the 33rd minute. Dempsey, who will have the option of wearing a mask, scored 30 seconds into the match, the fifth-fastest goal in Cup history. FIFA originally had it as 29 seconds, but switched it to 30 Tuesday.

"Maybe he has the option of getting a mask on," Klinsmann said. "Broken nose or not, I don't know how much a mask can protect him. Whatever he feels good with. I think that with a broken nose it was tricky during the game. He could barely breath and he struggled with that."

New York Sports