Featured Matches
Previous
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Bologna
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Union Berlin
Nurnberg
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
RB Leipzig
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfR Aalen
Kaiserslautern
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
Valenciennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Troyes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chateauroux
Orléans
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Créteil
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Arles
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Niort
Clermont Foot
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sochaux
Dijon FCO
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Laval
AC Ajaccio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Willem II Tilburg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Fortuna Sittard
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Den Bosch
Jong Ajax
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Helmond Sport
NEC Nijmegen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Jong PSV
FC Eindhoven
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
Jong FC Twente
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Stormvogels Telstar
Almere City
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Rotterdam
FC Volendam
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Emmen VV
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Academica de Coimbra
Vitoria Setubal
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
Terek Grozny
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Akhisar Belediye
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Caykur Rizespor
Genclerbirligi
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KAA Gent
KV Kortrijk
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Helsingborg
Halmstad
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Orebro SK
Brommapojkarna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Athlone Town FC
Cork
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bray
UCD
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derry City
St Patricks
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dundalk
Bohemians
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Limerick FC
Drogheda Utd
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shamrock
Sligo
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Glenavon
Ballymena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Coleraine
Portadown
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
Monterrey
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
U. de G.
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Aberystwyth
Bangor City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carmarthen
Port Talbot
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newi Cefn Druids
Connah's Quay
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Newtown
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
T.N.S.
Rhyl
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
Atlético Tucumán
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Crucero del Norte
7:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Huracán
Patronato
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Temperley
Sp. Belgrano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
San Martín de San Juan
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
At. San Luis
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Lobos BUAP
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
Oeste
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
América Mineiro
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Goianiense
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Arica
Palestino
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
Postp
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Moroka Swallows
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chippa United
Ajax Cape Town
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Jeff Carls Posted by Jeff Carlisle
Jun 19, 2014

Filling in for Jozy Altidore: Three potential replacements

RECIFE, Brazil -- From the moment Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster on May 22, among the bigger concerns was what the U.S. would do if striker Jozy Altidore got injured.

With the news that Altidore is officially out of Sunday's match against Portugal after suffering a strained left hamstring Monday against Ghana, that fear has been realized.

It must be said, Klinsmann's decision not to include a like-for-like replacement for Altidore on the roster was a head-scratcher that has morphed into a blunder. Given the strength of the Americans' Group G opponents, possession was always going to be a struggle. That concern was borne out against Ghana, who owned the ball for vast stretches of Monday's encounter. Altidore's ability to provide an outlet, hold the ball up, and link with teammates was expected to be a partial antidote to that weakness.

In his absence, Aron Johannsson -- who, to be fair, is a different kind of player than Altidore -- struggled to provide those attributes. Had Klinsmann included Terrence Boyd or Eddie Johnson, he wouldn't be in this predicament. But the roster deadline has long since passed, and now the U.S. and Klinsmann must find a solution.

In terms of options, Klinsmann has a few, though none of them are anywhere near ideal. One is to go 4-3-3 with Johannsson as the central striker, Clint Dempsey on one wing and Graham Zusi or Alejandro Bedoya on the other. It's a position that Johannsson has played at club level, which would give him a greater level of comfort. It might also serve to spare Dempsey and his broken nose from too many entanglements with hulking central defenders.

A big problem with this is that the U.S. has rarely played such a formation, and there just doesn't seem to be time to gain enough familiarity and cohesion before Sunday.

Another is to deploy Dempsey as the lone striker and use Zusi or Mix Diskerud as an extra midfielder. It's an intriguing idea in theory. A player like Zusi, whose strengths lie on the creative side, might be able to help the U.S. maintain possession better. But the U.S. has struggled with such an alignment in the past in that the midfield didn't always provide the needed level of support for Altidore. The result was that he was often stranded with no one to pass the ball to. Given Dempsey's broken nose -- which may affect his breathing and hence his stamina -- that option seems even less palatable.

Aron Johannsson, left, and Chris Wondolowski, right, are the most likely options to replace Jozy Altidore at striker.

That means Klinsmann likely will opt for a two-striker alignment, and it would seem he has three choices. Persist with Johannsson, bring in Chris Wondolowski, or turn to Diskerud with explicit instructions that he stay close to Dempsey.

If Johannsson is the choice, then it might be advisable for him and Dempsey to swap the respective roles they filled against Ghana, or at least alternate for stretches. Johannsson is not a back-to-goal kind of player. Neither is Dempsey, of course, and the downside is that you are taking away one of his best attributes, namely running at defenders.

But Dempsey has filled that role at times in the past for both club and country when need arose, and he performs the task better than any of the remaining forwards on the U.S. roster. Playing in support of Dempsey would allow Johannsson to face up to goal and threaten either off the dribble or with a pass.

Dempsey and Wondolowski were paired up in April's 2-2 draw against Mexico, with the latter player scoring the U.S. side's second goal in that match. It was a game that also saw Wondolowski link up well with his teammates, though his primary attributes remain his clever movement and nose for goal.

Diskerud is an interesting choice in that he's the best passer out of the three. If he can be disciplined enough to stay close to Dempsey, it might go a long way toward helping the U.S. keep the ball better.

Granted, it won't matter whom Klinsmann puts up top alongside Dempsey if the rest of the U.S. lineup doesn't do a better job of keeping possession. While that responsibility lies primarily on the midfield, the back line will need to be more precise with its distribution out of the back as well. That said, Diskerud's inclusion seems a long shot. The more logical choice comes down to Johannsson or Wondolowski, with the AZ striker's greater technical ability giving him a slight edge. Both figure to see the field against Portugal. At that point, it will be revealed if the U.S. can make the best of a difficult situation.

Jeff Carlisle

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. He has covered the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups for ESPN in Germany, South Africa and Brazil, respectively. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreycarlisle.