With under a week left until Team USA travels to San Jose for a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on September 6, there's a possibility that Jurgen Klinsmann will have to anticipate filling Jozy Altidore's role up top, after he was left off the Sunderland squad entirely for Saturday's match against Crystal Palace due to a hamstring injury.
Time to panic? Sure, maybe a little bit, but we should be glad he's resting up and taking it easy ahead of traveling to camp in Miami on September 1, which is when US Soccer advises all players will report. We've seen this before with injuries to players, big or small. And US Soccer notified the public this morning with a tweet that read "Jozy Altidore sat out today due to a hamstring issue. He will report to camp in Miami & be evaluated by team medical staff."
So while the thought of losing Altidore to injury with two crucial qualifiers ahead - one in Costa Rica, and the other against Mexico only four days later - is troubling, leaving him off his club squad to rest only a day before traveling from Europe to USA is precautionary, and panic shouldn't start to ensue just yet.
The thought of losing one of our best strikers in top form is troubling, don't get me wrong. Altidore has been on a scoring frenzy, bagging a hat trick in the last friendly against Bosnia helping USA to a massive come -from- behind victory against a top European club. But keep in mind that Klinsmann now has a roster with a lot of depth and this could be a great opportunity for a Landon Donovan / Clint Dempsey pairing. Aron Johannsson could see some minutes (though likely not as a starter) and let's not forget Eddie Johnson's head.
Moral of the story: let's hope for the best for Altidore, but don't panic...not yet.
And here's a teaser for you: I'll have a story on Altidore's foundation up here within the next few days, after he answered some of my questions on why charitable giving is so important to him.