United States striker Jozy Altidore will miss the remainder of the Gold Cup after straining his hamstring. He suffered the injury early in the Americans' quarterfinal win over Jamaica when he was trying to run onto a long ball, only to pull up lame. He was stretchered off the field not long after and replaced by Juan Agudelo. A MRI in Houston, site of Wednesday's semifinal against Panama, confirmed the extent of the strain.
Per Gold Cup rules, the U.S. is not allowed to replace Altidore on their roster, leaving them with just two forwards. Agudelo is expected to start in the semifinals, but he is just 18 years old with eight caps and not even two times as many professional appearances. The other forward on the team, Chris Wondolowski, has just five caps and has already been plagued by his inability to finish chances this tournament.
If there was any question that head coach Bob Bradley would stay away from his preferred 4-4-2 formation and play a 4-2-3-1, like he did in the quarterfinals, this should just about seal it. Agudelo worked as the lone striker in that match and while he does still have some issues holding the ball up, his movement and activity did create space for the midfielders behind him. It should be enough for the Americans to get by the Panamanians in the semifinals, but in the final, if they have to play arch-rival Mexico, they could sure use the experience and toughness of Altidore.
With an expected return in four to six weeks, Altidore should not miss any matches with his club, Villareal. This is assuming that he returns to Villareal, who has loaned him out multiple times in recent years. His hamstring strain just creates another question mark in his club career, but on the international side there are no immediate question marks. His Gold Cup is over.