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U.S. Men's National Team

SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

ozy Altidore

Photo by John Todd/ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

The wait is finally over. Jozy Altidore is back.

For the first time in 27 games for club and country, Jozy Altidore found the back of the net, and did it on two occasions in the USMNT’s 2-1 victory against Nigeria. Altidore’s performance earned him SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors, as voted on by SBI editorial staff.

Altidore scored his first on a tap-in after a great combination play between Alejandro Bedoya and Fabian Johnson in the 32nd minute, and then Altidore finished his second with aplomb, powering past Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo and sending a blast past goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to put the U.S. up 2-0 in the 68th minute.

Altidore beat out Jermain Jones and Michael Bradley for the honors.

Who do you think was the USMNT Man of the Match? Cast your vote here:

  • Jozy Altidore
  • Michael Bradley
  • Fabian Johnson
  • Jermaine Jones

What did you think of Altidore’s performance? Think this performance can give Altidore the spark he needs in the World Cup? Which player impressed you the most against Nigeria?

Share your thoughts below.

83 comments
  • USMNT Fan

    Altidore had a good showing, but the honor should have gone to Jones for his influence on the defense.

    Like

    • Hogatroge

      Came here to say this. Jones had, IMO, his best game in a US kit. Ian Darke said it best when he supposed that Jones had stepped on “every blade of grass” on the pitch.

      This, to all the doubters, is why Jones has consistently started under Klinsmann. Does he have his good and bad games? Yes, but when they’re good, they’re good.

      I loved the Jones and Beckerman pairing. KB’s passing was off, but he allowed Jones to roam a bit and Bradley to do whatever he wanted. That’s what we need in Brazil.

      Like

      • Nate

        Beckerman alongside Jones was a masterstroke. Also allowed MB more freedom to create. That said, 2 goals earns MOM, period.

        Like

      • JakeTheSnake

        I was surprised by the lineup (mostly b/c both Beckerman and Jones were starting CDM’s), but this pairing will work well together.

        The biggest thing IMO was Bradley and Dempsey pairing next to each other. That combo was downright dangerous looking (in a good way).

        Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        “Beckerman alongside Jones was a masterstroke.”

        Bears repeating.

        Like

      • Big Red

        Finally. Bradley never partners well with anyone because of his lack of positional discipline. Now, in the new formation today they just let Bradley run around where he can’t hurt the team. This was the reason why Roma let him go. Let’s hope Jones and Beckerman is here to stay.

        Like

      • GW

        I thought Roma let him go because they weren’t willing to match the bajillion dollars he got from TFC.

        Like

      • Turgid Jacobian

        Big Red appears to be in the grips of some kind of delusion. Don’t worry, though, he’s probably harmless.

        Like

      • bh ring

        Reminder to myself: Don’t ever consider Big Red a football genius, coach, or scout. He is clueless about the game!

        Like

      • GW

        Bears repeating.?

        They haven’t won anything in years. And with Cutler they may never.

        Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        All they need is Jones alongside Beckerman and the ridiculous silver football is theirs!

        Like

      • Geno Malkiewicz

        I have had my doubts about him, but when he went down clutching his ankle, I changed my mind.

        Like

    • James

      +1. Hard to argue against two goals, but that was by far the best performance by Jones I’ve seen. Exciting to see.

      Like

    • Dan

      Agreed. Jermaine Jones was insane today. The first time I’ve really been impressed with his play. He left it ALL on the field. He was the general, cleaning up Bradley’s errors and pushing the team forward when Bradley wasn’t interested in doing so.

      Like

      • peterprinciple

        Look, a defending midfielder should clean up the attacking MF mistakes. It allows the attacking MF the freedom to do what he needs to do to make the offense go. It’s team football. If you did not see the way Bradley played as the engine for this team today, then I cant help you.

        JJ gave away a decent amount of balls in the first half(which is why he is no MOM to me), but I agree he looked fast, committed to the cause, and a menace. Ghana will not have a good counter to a JJ that plays like this.

        Like

    • TomG

      JJ was all everyone said he was, but he still had a ton of loose turnovers in the first half. Until he cleans those up, I can’t vote for him. At least two of those could have easily caused goals. I would go MB, Jozy, FJ, JJ.

      Like

      • matt

        So somehow bradleys turnovers or Fabian Johnson getting caught out matters less? Your bias is showing

        Like

      • peterprinciple

        Wrong. The team is constructed to cover for FJ being caught out of position (KB OR AB cover) or Bradley to make a loose turnover in the middle or attacking halves (JJ and KB still behind the ball). What cant happen is loose turnovers from a player who’s role it is to clean up for loose play of those around him. Kyle didn’t have the same sort of mistakes despite having a very similar role to JJ. Jones had more responsibilty on his side since Dempsey doesn’t have the defensive responsibilities that Bedoya does (though Beasly stays home more than Johnson as well).

        It’s not bias to understand the players roles and how they work together. Jones and Beckerman are essentially co-destroyers, with Jones granted more upfield freedom because A. He’s better at it and B the team needs it to attack up the field the way they like.

        Like

    • Drew11

      I was at the game. JJ was just beastly. All over the field. Jones imposed his will on that match after the slow US start. Altidore’s 2nd goal was class but JJ was MOTM.

      Like

      • Andy in Atlanta

        Me too… even my wife noticed it. Jones was everywhere.

        Like

      • Roster

        Jones and Jozy both were all over the field….and it was a great turnout at Everbank! You can tell then the weight of the world was off Jozy after the tap-in. When Jozy gets hot…watch out!

        Like

    • beto

      Agreed! Just rewatched the game on the ESPN Tactical cam <– very cool.

      Great game from multiple big players. Cameron, Jones, Fabian, Jozy where all exceptional. Zusi, Beas, Bradley, Dempsey, Beckerman, Besler and Howard had their moments.

      I like this lineup

      Like

  • didoson

    Understand the choice but Cameron for me. Jones was great too. Bradley was poor for much of the first half but played much better second half.

    Like

  • argh

    needs to move to Italy or Germany. guarantee he’d score there.

    10-15 league goals next season. I set the HIGHEST standards

    Like

    • peterprinciple

      TRUE. But there is nothing wrong with buildin an EPL career by tryin to work it out in Sunderland. Maybe winter transfer if trouble persists?

      Like

      • bh ring

        The problem with Sunderland is they have a terrible midfield that can’t seem to make passes to the forwards/striker. Additionally, Sunderland’s defense is very bad. It’s difficult for a striker to score when nobody can give him the ball in dangerous places and the team is always worried about compacting the defense.

        Like

  • argh

    I see Jozy scoring 4 goals at this WORLD CUP.

    forget Donovan, we have Dempsey, Bradley and ALTIDORE

    Like

      • peterprinciple

        Donovan as Bedoya in that line up would have been compelling, but we cant downplay Bedoya’s overall game…and Zusi was decent when he got a chance too

        Like

    • bh ring

      Donovan deserves to be going the World Cup regardless of the lies and trash coming from Klinsmann’s mouth.

      Like

  • anti communist zealot

    23 goals in 70 matches for the NT.

    that makes him 6th in NT scoring stats

    Like

  • AP

    That was the most complete team performance yet. Jozy should have a “hat trick”, if not for Dempsey’s selfishness

    Like

    • petro4ever

      I kind of think Dempsey’s selfishness on that play contributed to the second goal. Altidore sometimes isn’t assertive enough when he gets the ball, but I think that Dempsey play, where Clint had Jozy open but took it himself, was a handy reminder that sometimes, you have to be a little selfish. Jozy’s goal #2 — where he turned and took on the defender rather than looking around for a teammate, came shortly after.

      After the first friendly where Dempsey was a late scratch, I said that I thought bringing back Dempsey would help Altidore because some of Dempsey’s selfishness would rub off on him. Altidore has gotten steadily better over the course of the last 2 games and he’s in great position not just to be our hold-up man, but to create a few chances for himself (and maybe even get a goal or 2) at the big event.

      Like

    • GW

      AP,

      When Jozy was still in his slump he would occasionally find himself in positions like Dempsey was in.

      Instead of shooting he would pass. And every fricking Twellman-esque expert from everywhere would be whining and crying out that he should SHOOT.

      Dempsey made his career by shooting when he is in that position.

      Had he passed to Jozy that increases the chances of something going wrong.

      It’s one of those six of one half a dozen of the other situations.

      Like

      • peterprinciple

        Nah, we need players to shoot, it opens up defenses gives a scoring chance, a chance at a corner and opens up lanes as games evolve. Not shooting enough is one of my complaints for a lot of the USMNT…Klinnsman is changing the attacking mindset though I believe, especially for the strikers.

        Like

      • NOLAJ

        If they’ve got the keeper going the wrong way they should be pulling the trigger. Bedoya was unlucky not to score one those two screamers he uncorked. One looked to be going in but took a deflection off a defender’s face.

        Like

  • ilikefreddyyesadu

    He would have scored 4 if Landon was playing…just kidding…

    Like

    • Don

      Klinsmann may have finally gotten it. Counterattack is our strength. Fine to work toward greater skilled play, but come tournament time, go with your strength. Arena and Bradley understood that. Too bad Klinsmann left one of the great counter attackers off the roster.

      Like

      • blokhin

        agree 100%. for all the B.S. talk about “attractive, attacking soccer” fed to casual fans to stoke excitement, with how shaky the Besler-Cameron-Gonzo center back situation is, there is no way Klinsmann wouldn’t have stuck with the tried and true bunker ball play..and in the group of death it is the right philosophy. The players haven’t changed, the type of talent Western European countries harvest annually simply won’t be in the U.S. for at least 10-15 years, so the style, with some variations of defense first and counter second will be here to stay no matter who the coach is

        Like

  • blokhin

    MB90 is the MOTM- the guy broke up plays defensively and served at least a half a dozen scoring chances on a platter…

    side question, is Bedoya that incapable of delivering a smart pass in the final third? he got one to FJ on the first goal, but also absolutely tied himself in knots on at least three others and destroyed USMNT’s chance of scoring…if that’s the strategy JK will roll our (3 CMs, 1 F and 2 kinda sorta forwards, but could also be wings) I’d rather have LD out there delivering the final ball

    Like

    • Jesse D

      I don’t disagree, he screwed up a few passes and unlike other players who did that (say Bradley) he didn’t have a ton of good quality passes to counter act that. He did rip a couple shots. I think one was going in, if not for an excellent block. Bedoya doesn’t have the vision or crossing ability of Zusi or Donovan. He is better defensively. His work rate is outstanding as well. He creates opportunities just by out hustling opponents.

      I think we’d all rather have Donovan out there.

      Like

      • Mueller

        Bedoya is way better than Donovan for this team. Compare results if you want but Donovan has been poor as a midfielder under Klinsmann. Bedoya’s hustle allows our best attacking player to get forward.

        Like

      • BrianVT

        I think we’d all rather have 2008 Donovan out there. It’s a shame nature & the passing of time don’t work that way.

        Like

      • peterprinciple

        I think Bedoya v. Zusi is the one real open debate heading into a week from Monday. (Well I think Cameron would be better in the Beckerman role, but we need him at RCB since Gonzo is utterly undependable.) Zusi is more creative and accurate moving the ball, but Bedoya will put in the work rate on both ends and is more off a threat to find the net. I like the idea of Zusi as a late sub when a set piece may be the difference. Gonzo as a late sub for Beckerman for the same reasons, and Johansen or Mix for another late on attacking option.

        Like

      • peterprinciple

        I am surely missing something- Is Zusi known as Voltron? If so I always cheer for Voltron

        Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        No—well, maybe now he will be. It’s a cool nickname.

        But I was just joining the “players not on the roster who we will discuss anyway.” For example: Voltron, Donovan, Wolverine….

        Like

      • Jesse D

        I get the idea: Mickey Mouse, Batman and Yedlin.

        Well, technically Yedlin is on the roster, but he has no business being there.

        Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        Batman is a great pick, but you’re out of your mind going with Mickey Mouse. I know, I know: he’s an American icon; how can I possibly exclude him?

        Look, he was great in the past, but today we have better options.

        Like

      • bh ring

        Almost everyone would rather have the 2014 Donovan over a 2014 Brad Davis or Julian Green. There is no way Klinsmann can claim these two players would be more valuable than Donovan.

        Like

      • BrianVT

        “There is no way Klinsmann can claim these two players would be more valuable than Donovan.” – Unless he watched, studied, analyzed, & evaluated them head-to-head, side-by-side for countless hours over several days, like you obviously did.

        Like

      • peterprinciple

        Green no(but we know why he was chosen for the next 15 years not now), but Davis Has the best left foot in the pool, which may prove valuable at some point and is a skill neither Donovan nor anyone else has.

        Like

    • peterprinciple

      He’s here as an intern I believe. Not really on the team, but on the team

      Like

  • David M

    Has anyone noticed how Ian Drake kept calling Jones Junior, not Jermaine, most of the game?

    Like

  • borromini

    demsey’s attitude needs a reboot. his ‘i am badass’ look is getting old. watch his reaction to bradley’s strike early in the first half. All pout and reproachful gestures toward MB. then watch altidore after demspey goes it alone and altidore is flagrantly wide open. after dempey’s shot if easily corralled by the Nigerian keeper, Jozy puts out his hand for a hey good job deuce, and deuce blows him off. taking himself too seriously, that clint. needs to loosen up more and look up more.

    Like

    • GW

      Mr. mini,

      Could I borrow you and have you buy me some lottery tickets?

      Obviously you read minds.

      Like

    • Bac

      Uh oh..Jozy scored…
      We better find someone to trash…
      Looks like it’s Dempey’s turn in the rotation..

      Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        I’m still furious with Howard: he can score for his club team, but not for the Nats!

        Like

    • Jesse D

      I saw Jozy give Deuce good job gesture as well, I’m not so sure Deuce blew him off though. I think he gave him a little acknowledgement.

      Deuce is a ball hog, not someone who looks to setup others. That is who he is. Sure I’d love him to find Jozy on that, but he just as likely to miss the pass and then we would all be criticizing him for not forcing the goalie to make a save.

      Like

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