United States' John Brooks, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. The United States won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Ricardo Mazalan

United States' John Brooks, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. The United States won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

CORNER KICKS, June 18: Health an issue for USMNT

By Nick Piotrowicz

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Yanks Corner:As the U.S. prepares for its next game, against Portugal in Manaus, the biggest concern is a simple but overlooked issue: Injuries. Clint Dempsey was kicked in the face, hurting his nose, and two U.S. starting 11 players, Jozy Altidore and Matt Besler, were substituted out of the Ghana game with hamstring injuries. Altidore is the most irreplaceable U.S. player simply because he is on a depth chart of one. The United States has no other true center forward who can hold the ball at the front of the formation like Altidore, a key part of the U.S. attack. With Altidore unlikely to be fit by Sunday, the U.S. might have to change its plans completely and abandon its midfield diamond in favor of another forward. Moving Aron Johannsson, Mix Diskerud or Chris Wondolowski up top address finishing, but not build up. Jurgen Klinsmann might have to become creative.

Around the world: We knew Group D was going to have a heavyweight knockout game, though perhaps not so quickly. Costa Rica was decent all the way through CONCACAF qualifying, but the Ticos made a superb and certainly surprising World Cup arrival by thumping 2010 semifinalist Uruguay. Now, Uruguay and England, both top 10 teams, are playing for survival in game No. 2 after losing their openers. The loser is all but out. If the two sides draw, England is the benefactor. The English have Costa Rica in Game 3; Uruguay has Italy.

For the novice:Game 2 is when it turns really fun. Desperation has creeped in for nearly half the field, especially with the high number of games with a winner in this World Cup. With desperation comes excitement. A goalless draw won’t benefit teams trying to claw for points, so they’ll start attacking with everything they have.

The real drama begins now.

Game of the Day: Spain vs. Chile, 3 p.m. It was the ugliest possible start for the defending world champions, a 5-1 decimation at the hands of the Dutch. With Holland playing lowly Australia in the early game today and a horrible goal differential, any hopes of winning the group are gone for Spain. But should the Spanish beat Chile, they’re back in business. They would be tied with three points, and Chile still has to play the Netherlands.