Klinsmann drops Altidore from U.S. qualifying roster
NEW YORK – Jozy Altidore was dropped Monday from the U.S. roster for critical World Cup qualifiers, and Landon Donovan was among the 24 players picked despite injuring his left knee last weekend.
Altidore has nine goals in 10 games this season for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands but had little impact during two qualifiers last month.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was critical in an espn.com interview published Sept. 28, saying, “I think Jozy can do a lot better, and he knows that.”
Klinsmann also bypassed Rapid Vienna’s Terrence Boyd, who has seven goals for his club this season, and San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who leads Major League Soccer with 25 goals, in favor of Seattle’s Eddie Johnson and the Earthquakes’ Alan Gordon.
Johnson has not played for the national team since May 2010, just before he was cut from the World Cup roster, and Gordon has yet to make his national team debut.
The Americans play at Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, then host Guatemala on Oct. 16 at Kansas City, Kan.
The U.S. will need a win and a tie to advance to next year’s regional finals.
Ronaldo cleared to play in qualifyIng matches
MADRID – Cristiano Ronaldo was cleared to play for Portugal in its upcoming World Cup qualifiers despite injuring his left shoulder in Real Madrid’s 2-2 tie at Barcelona.
After examining the forward Monday, team doctors determined he could take part.
Portugal plays at Russia on Friday and at home against Northern Ireland on Oct. 16.
Ronaldo scored both of Madrid’s goals Sunday to match Lionel Messi’s two as the teams split the points. He fell hard on his left shoulder after attempting an overhead kick in the second half.
Vonn wants to race against dudes at Lake Louise
GENEVA – Lindsey Vonn wants to challenge the men’s downhill skiers in a World Cup race next month, though her wish still needs the support of the United States team and alpine skiing’s governing body.
The U.S. ski federation said Monday that it had not had a “formal discussion” about the possibility of its star racer challenging the men Nov. 24 in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Vonn, the women’s Olympic downhill champion, wrote the International Ski Federation to ask whether she can make the historic start at a venue where she has earned nine of her 26 World Cup downhill victories.
The Canadian course – often dubbed “Lake Lindsey” for her dominance there – stages women’s races, including two downhills, the following weekend.
FIS, however, can’t make a decision on Vonn until the U.S. ski team makes a formal request to let her enter.
“There’s not anything to say until we have a proposal from the national association,” FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday.
Lance’s former lieutenant to lead Russian cycling team
MOSCOW – Three-time Olympic champion Viatcheslav Ekimov, a longtime teammate of Lance Armstrong, is the new general manager of the Russian cycling team Katusha.
The team said Ekimov will replace Hans-Michael Holzer of Germany.
Ekimov rode with the U.S. Postal Service team in 1997-98, before Armstrong won his first Tour de France.
He returned in 2000 and rode in some of Armstrong’s subsequent Tour victories through 2005.
Ekimov won Olympic titles in track team pursuit in 1988 and the road time trial in 2000.
He was awarded his third title in August when the IOC stripped former teammate Tyler Hamilton of the 2004 time-trial gold for doping.