At approximately 12:38 pm ET, ESPN reported via their SportsCenter twitter feed the following message: “ U.S. F Jozy Altidore hospitalized for sprained ankle."
Afterwards, at 1:09 pm ET, U.S. Soccer released the following on their website “ U.S. Men's National Team forward Jozy Altidore sat out training today after incurring a mild right ankle sprain during Wednesday’s practice."
"Altidore’s status is considered day-to-day, and he will undergo a fitness test Friday to determine his availability for the June 5 friendly against Australia.”
The United States announced their 23-man roster on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 in which they revealed only four players at the forward position.
Altidore, 20-years-old (25 international caps/ nine goals), is the most experienced of the four U.S. strikers in what has been already criticized as a fairly inexperienced group of forwards heading into this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
Jozy Altidore has been active for the USA during World Cup qualifying, most notably against Trinidad & Tobago on April, 1 2009 when he scored all three goals and completed his first International hat-trick.
Many fans also recall his opening goal against Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup that led to a 2-0 upset over then top-ranked Spain.
Besides Altidore, Herculez Gomez (three international caps/one goal), Edson Buddle (two international caps/no goals), and Robbie Findley (three International caps/no goals) are the options up top selected by U.S. National Team Coach Bob Bradley.
Under FIFA rules, the 23-man roster for the World Cup is final with the exception of an injury.
Brian Ching (45 International caps/11 goals) and Eddie Johnson (41 International caps/12 goals) were recently cut from the 30-man preliminary roster and are immediate thoughts for the replacement of Altidore.
Should Bob Bradley need to call up a replacement?
Ching and Johnson were said to be cut because of concerns over their respective recent injuries. Additionally Colorado’s Connor Casey (20 International caps/2 goals) was active during World Cup qualifying and may also be an option to fill the vacant spot.
Another player thought for consideration, should he be cleared to play, is Charlie Davies, whom after his meaningful goals in the 2010 FIFA Confederations Cup vs. Egypt, and in World Cup qualifying at Mexico was considered an upset to not have made the original 30-man preliminary roster.
Although Altidore has been a vital part of the U.S. Men’s National Team and his presence will be missed, an injury could be a blessing in disguise for Bob Bradley to take a forward with experience and strength.
Brian Ching was considered an upset not to go to South Africa, but would bring all the attributes the USA is missing at forward and fill the void Bob Bradley has left open to fill his need for speed.
On a side note, I do wish Altidore a fast recovery and hope he is able to realize his dream to play in a FIFA World Cup this summer.