Sorry for abandoning the ship for a few days y'all, I've been recovering from the marvelous United States 2-1 victory over Ghana and a brief trip to Las Vegas. Yes the two were linked. Yes I had an amazing time. Now it's back to reality. So let's see what the reporters in Brazil are reporting from US national team camp in Sao Paulo.
Klinsmann: Besler is "no problem" for Portugal. On Altidore: we'll see how he reacts over next couple days to hamstring.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 17, 2014
Jozy Altidore's injury was a big story from the US victory over Ghana. After Clint Dempsey's thirty-second goal, the United States still tried to build up out of the back as is the current directive. When Altidore pulled up holding his hamstring, that buildup didn't go anywhere. Howard had to start punting to midfield because the buildup would simply turn the ball over at the midway line and give Ghana more possession.
Part of being a target forward is being able to hold the ball near the midline and let the offense get forward before making your run into the box. It's hard for a young player like Aron Johannsson to know instinctively when to slow the attack down.
Getting Besler back is another key component. John Brooks was heroic as a substitute rescuing the three points the US had just squandered, but the way DeMarcus Beasley played the US needs someone who can have his back if he remains the no. 1 option. Also quite telling that Omar Gonzalez has fallen that far behind on the depth chart, not coming into that match.
Klinsmann on Bradley: "I know Michael can step it up again."— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 17, 2014
Let's be honest, Michael Bradley was terrible against Ghana. Like he saw a ghost pre-match and was just spooked out the entire time.
UNCONFIRMED reports Cristiano Ronaldo is out of World Cup.. Portuguese doctor. "If (he) plays in this WC, injury could end his career."— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) June 18, 2014
The status of Cristiano Ronaldo is a giant mystery. There were reports that Ronaldo left practice early before the Germany match, but then he went the full 90 and despite playing below his normal level he didn't show any outward signs of injury. This report comes alongside reports that he left practice early in an open training, so plenty of witnesses, but may be blown out of proportion again.
If Ronaldo doesn't play for Portugal, the team that was absolutely torn asunder by Deutschland and lost Pepe to a red card, then the United States will have zero excuses not to go full out for the victory.
This is indeed, a big freaking deal.