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Americans Abroad: Altidore starts, Hahnemann posts shutout and more

JozyAltidore (Getty Images)

U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore was handed a rare start for Spanish power Villarreal, but he couldn't keep his squad from being knocked out of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinals after a 3-0 loss to Sevilla.

Altidore played 62 minutes, and showed some glimpses, but struggled to make an impact as the left forward in a 4-3-3 attack. Despite failing to score yet again, the fact that Altidore earned a start in an important cup match bodes well for his standing with the club currently in third place in La Liga.

In other Americans Abroad action:

Marcus Hahnemann started and played 90 minutes in Wolves' 5-0 win against Doncaster in FA Cup play on Tuesday. Frank Simek started and played 90 minutes in Carlisle United's 4-0 win vs. Huddersfield Town in Johnstone's Paint Trophy action.

Maurice Edu followed his goal-scoring return last weekend with a ten-minute cameo in Rangers' 1-0 victory against Inverness.

What do you think of Tuesday's Americans Abroad results? Happy to see Altidore get the start? Worried about his lack of goals? Think Hahnemann might stay in England rather than come to MLS?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I have always enjoyed the *great* languid players. The Riquelme’s or Valderamma’s, who can dictate the game while jogging. Berbatov has a little bit of this quality too.

    The notion that lots of running is in and of itself desirable is an idea too prevalent in US soccer — and in the UK.

    But Jozy’s movement off the ball is repeatedly disappointing.

    Perhaps Altidore is lazy. But off the ball movement is also about a sort of spatial intelligence and anticipation.

    A totally different player, but look at how Javier Hernandez arrives at the “right” places.

    Other commenters are spot on: Jozy is young. He is learning. In Brazil and in Russia, he might be a much better player than he is now. But a game like today leaves one with the suspicion that he might not.

  2. Did you just say we have some of the best midfielders in the world?

    Okay I will ask in civility what’s your definition of being one of the best in the world? Top 10? 15?

    I have a feeling you can name about 10-15 midfielders of their type i.e. right and left wingers, central box to box midfielders and central defensive midfielders.

    I know in Spain there’s like 8 alone that are much better than our guys. Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabrigas, Pedro, Navas, Silva, and I forget the others?

    You also have guys like Yaya Toure, Essien, Pienaar, Schwansteiger, Khedira, pretty much all the Dutch guys except De Jong, that guy is a thug and THEN we get to the South Americans. Pretty much all of Argentina’s and Brazil’s midfields are better much better than ours, I love our boys, and I’m a USMNT fan hardcore, but lets keep things in perspective shall we?

  3. I wish Jozy got to play more, and obviously I wish he would score when he got the chance to play, but honestly his accomplishments to date are better than any American for his age in history. He’s already scored goals in La Liga and the EPL and he’s still college-aged. He just needs some minutes to hit a run of form, and when he does, he will unleash that killer shot of his and make Ray Hudson poop his pants.

  4. Agree w/ Chicago Josh analysis; Jozy wasn’t getting much love from teammates when he was making runs into the box. Not so surprising they don’t show much confidence in him when he’s gotten so little playing time and when Ross is obviously the primary target. Still, he put himself in some good positions to score but never saw the ball. Otherwise, his touch and passing looked solid, especially in delivering one of the two best set-up chances for Rossi.

  5. Yeah. I mean it sounds like Rossi and Ruben didn’t heat things up either, which puts things into perspective a little bit better.

  6. So it’s ridiculous to compare Jozy (who is very young and nowhere near his prime) to Drogba but it’s fair, reasonable and makes much more sense to compare him/his potential to Heskey? Where do people get this kind of stuff?

    For the billionth time – young man, learning his craft with a top side. He needs time and just so happens to have time on his side. Unless you’ve cracked the soccer potential projection algorithm, perhaps we should just watch this thing play itself out and hope for the best while we support one of our up and coming youngsters.

  7. Sorry, but Jozy is over-hyped in my opinion.

    It has been 3 years straight that people keep giving the same excuses. He’s young, he doesn’t get enough playing time, etc. Ok, perhaps that is fine, but if he is still that unrefined as a player, then he doesn’t deserve to start up top with the US National team. Start people that are in form and scoring goals.
    How many years did people give Eddie Johnson or Freddy Adu before we realized that they were not going to be able to compete at the top level. At least not in the immediate future.

    We have some of the best midfielders in the world: Stuart Holden, Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley. We don’t need Donovan there anymore. Move Landon up top with Clint Dempsey.

    Meanwhile Jozy can keep training as he is still “so young.”

  8. i must say, i watched the whole match today and his touch looked much improved. he didn’t get the ball in very dangerous places (this was really a result of villareal looking poor overall) but he wasn’t scared to go at players when he did and he had a couple nice flick-ons and through balls to his teammates. he looked okay too when you consider he was playing as a left winger in a 4-3-3 which i was surprised to see.

    i know the goals aren’t flowing and he isn’t getting a lot of minutes, but to me it looks like his time in spain with much more technically gifted players is paying off, because i have criticized his poor touch before and he looked much more confident and composed on the ball today, so that can’t be bad

  9. Lets be real here, he is like 21 years old. He is at a great developmental club. Whats the downside? As long as he works hard at practice and learns a lot, then he is in a great situation! Becoming an amazing player takes time and effort. Lets just all chill out and give him time haha

  10. Comments like these either make you sound so old that you think 1990 was recent history, or so young you dont know about Wynalda, Harkes, Lalas, etc…

  11. In our nation’s new spirit of civility, I’ll try not to flame.

    I do think that we place a little too much emphasis on running around and looking busy (and not only in soccer). Berbatov and Drogba have both been accused of laziness.

    Look–he’s 20. He will grow up to be either Drogba or Heski. Heski does work really hard.

    Of course, when I grew up in Minnesota, if we couldn’t find any other compliment for a person, we would say, “he tries hard.”

    Just saying.

  12. I’ve read before that his work rate at practice was suspect, but he always seems to work pretty hard in game, at least from the Hull, NYRB, and USMNT games I’ve watched him in.

  13. I think its a bit ridiculous to compare Jozy Altidore to Didier Drogba. Not gonna happen. Based on his current progress, I’d be happy if he became Emile Heskey. Which isn’t that bad.

  14. sounds like it was not a high on the agenda game (which is probably why Jozy got the start).

    Thus helping Jozy getting minutes but hurting him in that they were not playing 100%.

    I mean a 3-0 for Villarreal to Sevilla is a little bit telling.

  15. Watched the match, and he still looks below average. I believe that he needs to find a new team if he wants to develop, because he has no hope of ever starting meaningful minutes at a club like Villareal.

    I will be flamed for this, but he is a lazy sob, and I would bet the house on the fact that the only time he works on his touch is when the coach is hounding him.

    That is really the only logical explanation I have for how little progression he has shown in the last couple of years.

  16. Haha, no doubt. He’s the only player who could start this important a match for this important a club at this young an age and it would be a bad thing. Man. You guys realize how young he is, right? And yet, he’s the American playing for arguably the biggest club any American is currently playing for. (I guess you could argue that Everton/Fulham are bigger than Villareal, but whatever.)

    It’s just so funny that I read the headline and story and thought “Hey, that’s great” and others read it and think “This is awful.”

    Goals come with playing time. Playing time has been coming more this year than previous years. Work it out.

  17. Drogba at 22:
    Playing in the second division of France. At 19-20 he scored 0 goals in only 2 appearances. The next year he scored 7 goals in 30 appearances (not bad, but still Ligue 2). He then got injured and lost his place in the first team. When he got it back he scored 0 goals in 11 league appearances. He wouldn’t feature for his national team for another two years. Just sayin’.

  18. I’m a big Jozy fan. Yes, I agree he needs time and I also happen to believe he couldn’t be at a better club for his development. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be disappointed by his lack of production. That’s not hating. That’s just being a fan who wants the best for him. You can’t help but worry when you look at the numbers: NYRB – Aps 37 Gls 15, Villareal – Aps 9 Gls 1, Hull – Aps 28 Gls 1. USNT – Aps 32 Gls 10. He’s performed his best at RBNY and for the USNT. Maybe he left MLS too soon?

  19. Although it was against a much inferior club, John Paul Pittman did score 2 goals in his return to the pitch today!! Just keeping tabs on everyone.

  20. Jozy looked above average. He created a half-chance in the 1st half that he should have put on frame. Glancing header in the 2nd half forced a save. Spent a lot of time tracking back to his third to defend. He held the ball well and sprang Rossi for a great chance. Selfish teammates shot from terrible angles when Jozy was open and in a better position to score…seemed almost unwilling to give him the ball. Villareal defense looked terrible and gave up a very soft goal in the 6th minute, and it seemed like the rest of the team weren’t putting in their best effort. Defending on corner kicks was poor and the 2nd goal drew an angry reaction from Jozy (who was defending the near post runs).

  21. This is the second year in a row where he has not had consistent playing time. People sometimes discount that he started at Hull City as a 19 year old and was expected to help them survive relegation. His coach was completely insane and the other one was only slightly better and as a whole the team sucked. Now he has stability but plays behind some really good forwards, as has already been mentioned he just needs time.

  22. The best thing he did all game was sprint over and block an attempted clearance from a Sevilla player, which Rossi applauded and tried to get his teammates excited about.

    No one made a run for a nice left-footed cross he made.

    Other than that, he looked like a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot in a salsa class. So stiff.

  23. No matter what, Americans deserve credit for what they’ve accomplished abroad. It wasn’t long ago that ZERO American’s were playing abroad. At least, none with any noteriety. Clap Clap to all Americans playing the great game of soccer abroad!

    Writer for

  24. having not seen the game, what I want to know is how is his positioning, how is his touch and how is his awareness. if those things are there, then the goals will come.

    folks need to chill.

  25. He did not score many goals in the EPL and he has not scored much in La Liga. These are the top two leagues in the world.

    So, are you really saying that he cannot handle playing at the top level?

    He is young and needs time. No other way to say it. If he works hard, improves his first touch and positioning, he could be a very good player.

  26. Villerreal as a team looked poor today. Their defense gives up too many goals and puts them under a lot of pressure to score and score early.

    I think Jozy will be Ok, and believe he will play well with the NT

  27. Definitely worried about his lack of goals. I admit that he seems to have a lot of talent, and he’s still young, but it seems that he’s getting worse in the goal-scoring category. I don’t understand it. Watching him in MLS, he had the guts to shoot, take people on, etc. It seems like he’s losing that gusto.


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