US players confident Altidore will be healthy for opener
Goalkeeper Tim Howard and defender Steve Cherundolo are confident injured forward Jozy Altidore will be healthy for the Americans' World Cup opener against England on June 12.
Altidore sprained his right ankle during a training drill Wednesday and missed Thursday's practice. While X-rays were negative, he underwent treatment Thursday night and Friday morning. He was to be evaluated later Friday to determine whether he could play Saturday against Australia in Roodepoort in the Americans' last warmup match.
"We all hope Jozy will get better. We think he will," Howard said. "We're not losing sleep over it."
Altidore, who spent last season at Hull in the English Premier League, is the most experienced American forward despite being just 20. The other forwards are Robbie Findley, Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez.
"Thankfully, with Jozy, it seems to be just mild," Cherundolo said. "I think he'll be OK in a couple of days."
Findley made the 23-man roster in a surprise to some, but prized by coach Bob Bradley because of his speed. He had an impressive second half in last weekend's 2-1 exhibition win over Turkey, helping stretch the defence and open space for Altidore, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.
"It felt good. Whenever you can go out and play like that, it will always help your confidence," Findley said. "It would have been nice to get a goal, too, but I was effective in different ways."
In the last season of his contract with Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, he started in the March 3 exhibition loss at the Netherlands.
"I wasn't as comfortable as I wanted to be, but I watched game tape and stuff like that, and learned from that," he said. "Then my teammates told me just do what got you here. You know, be aggressive, go at players and all the rest will come. I went with that as my main focus in that Turkey game."
Altidore entered training camp as the only forward assured a spot in the starting 11. Brian Ching, a 2006 World Cup veteran expected to make the roster, was cut.
Findley might suit the style the 14th-ranked Americans are expected to employ against No. 8 England.