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USMNT Daily Update: Altidore’s latest gem, his USMNT goal drought, and his forgotten national team goals



When Jozy Altidore slalomed through RKC Waalwijk's defense on his way to his eighth, and most beautiful goal, of the season on Sunday, the goal left many U.S. fans wondering when he will start scoring goals like that for the U.S. national team. His current goal rut stands at just one goal in his past 13 national team appearances, a stretch of more than 15 months that has led to understandable concerns about when his production for the U.S. will kick in.

That drought is also why it seems many have forgotten that, for all the struggles of the past year, Altidore actually has scored goals for the national team before. He has scored 13 to be precise, a total that has him in a tie for tenth place in the all-time career scoring list. When you consider that Altidore is still just 22, the 13-goal total is actually pretty impressive.

How many American players have scored more goals before the age of 23 than Altidore? Five? Ten? Nope. Just one. Landon Donovan, who scored 19 goals before he turned 23.

So Altidore, the player who seems like he never scores for the national team, actually has more national team goals before the age of 23 than any player in U.S. national team history not named Landon Donovan.

He just hasn't scored many of those goals lately (and hasn't scored a national team goal in ten months).

A closer look at the U.S. national team's all-times scoring leaders, and their production before the age of 23, helps puts Altidore early production into some interesting perspective. The next person on the list of leading scorers before the age of 23 is Eric Wynalda (11), followed by Eddie Johnson (nine) and a three-way tie between Joe-Max Moore, DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Bradley (all with eight).

How many national team goals did Clint Dempsey score before turning 23? Try four. Cobi Jones? Just two. Bruce Murray? He managed one. And Brian McBride? He didn't score his first national team goal until he was 24.

This isn't to suggest that there isn't a cause for concern about the fact that Altidore has just one goal in 12 matches under Jurgen Klinsmann, and has yet to score in 2012 for the USA. He does need to start producing more. The point is to remind people that Altidore has scored goals for the national team before. He has scored important goals. He has scored in the Gold Cup, in the Confederations Cup, on the road in CONCACAF qualifying, and he's also scored against Mexico (in his first national team start no less).

Unfortunately for Altidore and the national team, most of those goals came two, three and four years ago. What Altidore has not done is score for the USA lately, and, until he recaptures that scoring touch, the questions will persist. In the fickle world of international soccer, the only thing that matters is what you have done lately, and the dozen national team goals Altidore scored before Klinsmann's arrival are becoming a distant memory.

As impressive as he has been in the Dutch League, and as clear as it is that he is improving as a player, Altidore needs to create new memories with the U.S. national team, both for Klinsmann and for those many fans who have already begun to forget the goals Altidore scored in his early national team years.


  1. How many times in the last 10 months has he started a game with both Landon and Dempsey (our 2 creative attacking players)?

    Oh…none. That explains it.

  2. he had club commitments. “fit” does not just refer to fitness. most star players are not “fit” for their national teams 100% of the time because they are so valuable to their club team. it is noone’s fault and that is another point that you are missing. when games matter, i promise you he will be “fit.”

  3. Not once has Jozy, Dempsey, Donovan and Bradley played together under Jurgen.

    Not once.

    I feel sorry for Jurgen that our four most important attacking players have never played together under him.

  4. The reason being that Jozy’s coach hates Klinsmann ( condensed to make it simple for you). Again, let’s think please…

  5. No offense, seriously. But I’ve been reading your posts for a while now (you post more than Ives does) and I’m left wondering…is there ANYTHING you like about the US National Team or this web site? Seriously, do you like anything at all? Judging by your posts I’d say no, but that then makes me wonder why you post so much?

  6. “Officially” according to UEFA it is the 8th best league in Europe, but most people know the Dutch league is better than the Ukranian league. Next year that will be reflected in the league rankings where the Dutch league will be 7th.

  7. Well, JK called out Jozy in the recent interview he gave for ESPN. He stated he had to work a lot harder at the international level to score goals. I think Jozy will be fine, but it will take him a few years to put it together at the international level. We all saw the goal he scored against Spain and wonder why he can’t play at that level of intensity all the time. Part of it is Jozy’s workrate and part of it is the lack of continuity with the Nats’ midfield. I like Boyd’s overall game better anyway…Jozy can take all the time he needs.

  8. It always depends on how you read the numbers but numbers are numbers. Everyone is going to get their stats in a different way..some in one game and some spread out but that is how it is for everything. It seems like the people who back jozy make up something about the numbers being misleading while people that don’t back jozy, the “haters”, seem to say the numbers tell all.
    I think we can all agree that jozy is a beast. He is a physical specimen and he isn’t the normal soccer player. He looks like a running back playing striker. He is in form now and it’s only a matter of time. Give him chances and let him use his strengths. I have been very critical of the guy, i have to admit. I have been disappointed with his outings for the US but i think we all know that he is a baller. He will come around for the US. He is learning to be more of a creator it seems like and that is whats needed for the national team more so than a club team considering our national team is defensively minded. Results will follow

  9. Wiki cites it’s sources, it’s using references for pretty much all it’s facts so i mean there really is no credibility lost at all

  10. I think everyone has received your assertion that Gomez has produced more for the USMNT in the past year than Jozy has.

    I think the questions people have responded with are:

    – Has Jozy played/started enough in that time period to warrant a fair comparison?
    – If Jozy has played enough, are there concerns about the USMNT’s midfield above and beyond Klinsmann’s comment that Jozy should be able to create his own chances?
    – If Jozy has not played enough, is it due to factors within his control (not training hard enough, being out of form, laziness) or is it due to factors outside of his control (travel, European schedule, club commitments)?
    – Is the ball getting played from the back through the midfield to Jozy effectively, never mind creating chances?
    – Has Jozy had enough time to integrate into Klinsmann’s system? Has he been given a fair chance?

    I have seen all of these questions asked in the comments above; I don’t think any of them are unreasonable or irrational.

    “one side believes what their eyes tells them and the other side calls them haters.”

    I would challenge you to look again.

  11. Oh, sorry to tack on another comment, but it’s also pretty nice to have an attacking side that happens to play for the same one or two teams in the same league. I’m looking at you, Barca and RM.

  12. “he has hardly had a chance with Klinsmann yet. started two games and one of those he was awesome”

    That’s not on Klinsmann, that’s on Jozy…and “awesome”, please.

  13. What’s interesting is Jozy wasn’t fit / hasn’t produced.

    Generally, those two things will contribute to a dip in goal scoring.

    Who else should I blame for lack of fitness or production? Oh, let me guess “the haters”?

  14. No one is writing Jozy off. In fact, if the “haters” were writing him off, there wouldn’t be such lengthy debates.

    “Gomez, who has undoubtedly had very good form for the nats as of late, who would you rather have on the field rather than Jozy??”

    Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln.

    Yes, other than Gomez…you know, the player that HAS been in good form with the Nats, has made good runs, has showed awesome work rate, has scored some goals and HAS started over Jozy.

    Yea, other than him….how was that play, Mrs. Lincoln?

  15. ” I mean really Jozy has scored vs Spain, assisted vs Slovenia at the most crucial time, assisted vs Algeria, almost had the winner vs England, then scored two goals in the Gold Cup before pulling his hamstring.”

    All under Bob Bradley. Since then? Nada.

  16. “the fact is that he has just not gotten many opportunities under klinsmann.”

    …and this is Klinsmann’s fault? Jozy has done one of two thing: hasn’t produced or hasn’t been fit.

    That’s Klinsmann’s fault, though. Meanwhile, others playing his postion/spot have.


    It’s all on JK, though. Oh, and all on the “haters”.

  17. I will never understand the Jozy haters. Aside from Gomez, who has undoubtedly had very good form for the nats as of late, who would you rather have on the field rather than Jozy??

    Players go through scoring droughts all the time but that doesn’t mean they should be written off. If you can’t see Jozy’s skill and potential then you simply don’t understand quality when you see it.

  18. Romelu Lukaku (age 19) isn’t a perfect like for like, but he’s honestly the only person I could even think of. Good exercise… thought provoking

  19. Half of you guys are insane. The forward position, Jozy included, is not the problem on the NATS.

    Our lack of meaningful possession, quality service, and/or creativity from the MF has plagued or attack in most games. As routinely noted, Jozy was not in form or was not available in other efforts.

    Jozy is developing into a world class forward. Period. He is the least of the national team’s problems.

  20. Jozy’s “slump” is more indicative of a larger issue with the USMNT rather than a particular flaw with Jozy.

    Even if you don’t watch him play, a modicum of research and cold logic will tell you he is a better player after two seasons with AZ. It is certainly illogical to think he is WORSE now than when he was an important cog for the USMNT..

    Everyone acts as if his scoring feats are to be diminished because they come in the attack oriented Netherlands yet those same people get all moist when Boyd, who is roughly the same age, is a lot less experienced, plays in a much weaker league, and is scoring fewer goals. I like Boyd, and he has a bright future, but It’s amazing how much, holding your hand over your heart during the anthem, running around like a bull in a china shop and sweating a lot positively impacts many USMNT fans’ perceptions of soccer players.

    As JK and others have noted in the international game defenses are tighter and chances are fewer. When JK took over the first thing he did was tighten up what had been a leaky defense. Any defense that lets a 2-0 lead in the Gold Cup final turn into a 4-2 loss is shaky. And there had been issues before that such as constantly giving up early goals.

    JK did this largely by having his midfield play more defensively and do a better job of shielding the back four. Stressing possession even more and working the ball out of the back also helps keep pressure off of the back four. Under JK the US is tighter defensively but they also don’t score a lot. With the midfield heavily defensive oriented and no Donovan around, the attackers are spending more time dropping back into the midfield to find the ball and the game.
    Hence the preference for Gomez, who seems well suited to this style of play. That also is why JK is so committed to keeping Fabian at left back. With Johnson and , to a lesser extent these days, Dolo, as fullbacks there is always the danger of an overlap down the wings. And it’s also why Cameron, whose athleticism, speed and skill help keep the defense from being too “defensive”, will start every game he is available for.

    The point is it takes less time and is easier for a national team to tighten up defensively than it is for them attack consistently and effectively.

    Unless you are a football factory like Spain or Brazil, good attacking players are hard to come by. One way to get around that is to play high pressure and attack en masse so to speak, but that takes a little time to work out, it’s hard to play for 90 minutes and you still need a certain level of attacking skill. And if you attack as a team it just stands to reason that the scoring chances for any one given individual decrease.

    Others here have pointed out that Jozy has actually had very little time, for a variety of reasons, to get integrated into this new scheme. He may never score as frequently as he once did for the US but Jozy is very team oriented and I believe he is mostly worried about winning. I have no doubt he will get his share of goals once he gets more time with the team.

    Besides, he will almost certainly be sold soon and maybe his next manager won’t despise Klinsmann as much as Verbeek does.

  21. I’d like to declare jerp the winner here by unanimous decision. I mean really Jozy has scored vs Spain, assisted vs Slovenia at the most crucial time, assisted vs Algeria, almost had the winner vs England, then scored two goals in the Gold Cup before pulling his hamstring. Then has been busy solidifying his club situation while seemingly putting the U.S. team on the back burner for a while. I mean in the past year besides the extremely recent World Cup Qualifiers vs Jamaica had Jozy really underperformed. The only friendly of note was vs Italy where he performed well and then there were the money grabs for U.S. soccer before the qualifiers vs Antigua-Barbuda and Guatamala. Now people are calling for our most in form striker to lose his spot in the team because of one bad performance in Jamaica and then the mop up performance back in the U.S. I dont know if you know this but coming on in the 75th minute of a game and expecting a player to be firing on all cylinders is asking a lot. And lets not forget the amount of travel involved for the kid. Netherands to Jamaica to Columbus in what was likely a week and a half period can best testing for the most experienced pros. In conclusion, everyone’s entitled to their opinion but I just can’t agree with someone that just seems so blinded to facts and reason.

  22. is this you throwing in the white towel?

    forget the fact that i joked around by calling you a “hater”.

    the point of the post is that jozy HAS scored for the national team A LOT. the fact is that he has just not gotten many opportunities under klinsmann. how do you know so much about jozy and what he is capable of for the national team when he has not played much for the national team recently? to let you know, I am basing my confidence in him on his past performances with the national team when he HAS played (even you acknowledge that) and on his current performance for his club team (which is the only recent and decent sample and which you would be crazy to discount [now you are going to tell me that you don;t like my opinion because i called you “crazy”])

  23. Ok — does anyone else see the bitter irony here. US soccer has gotten to a stage where one of it’s best international strikers (stats wise) cannot produce for the national team, yet the national team still competes.

    Jozy, may not be able to really shine in the current scheme of JK. Altidore relies very heavily on open play and wide open space. International soccer does not offer as much space and the defensive schemes are much better than the Dutch league. (no offense)

    Still — going to be interesting to see if Jozy can change his style to fit w/ JK. Otherwise — he may be, dare I say…Rooney Jr.

  24. “here is a theory that meshes with your unrelenting hating on jozy”

    Sorry, I’m not hating. I just don’t drink the koolaid.

    This is the primary reason this topic has become so polarizing: one side believes what their eyes tells them and the other side calls them haters.

    I actually like Jozy a lot. I just expect more out of him and am not willing to make excuses for why he’s unable to replicate even a figment of that production he enjoys at the club level.

    The rest of your diatribe wasn’t read. I apologize for the time you’ve spent on it. The fact that you said my hate “comes from the Jamaica” match is ridiculous.

    No, my opinion comes from his body of work, or lack thereof, with the Nats in recent years.

    People, it’s possible to have an opposing opinion without being a hater. It’s also possible those with opposing opinions can either be: right or have validity.

    Novel idea, I’m sure to some of you.

  25. A bunch of overly critical arm chair soccer player on here. Ives is just bringing to attention the side that no one seems to bring up on these forums, like a good journalist.

  26. The USA played FAR more games from 90-94 than it has done in any cycle before or since, if you’ve ever wondered how Cobi Jones got 150 caps or whatever it is, it’s because the USA team was in residency for 4 years leading up to the 1994 world cup, because of the lack of a league.

  27. here is a theory that meshes with your unrelenting hating on jozy:

    your hatred seems to be rooted in the jamaica game (there can be no other root since jozy has only started for klinsi ONE other time in more than a year). In that Jamaica game, it is agreed that NONE of the forwards showed well mostly because the midfield play was awful. during this game, jozy was partnered with gomez. jozy was subbed out at 72 minutes for boyd. perhaps it looked like jozy was so “lazy” is because he was told to play that way (didn’t boyd play pretty similarly). good chance klinsi told jozy to sit in the space that gomez leaves (since, as you profess, gomez is such an incredible mover off the ball and all). the point is that your opinion that jozy is lazy or had a crap game is an uninformed opinion based on your extremely limited analysis.

    let me take this a little further than what someone else wrote above: gomez earned his starting spot when jozy was not with the team for a stretch in the summer. jozy was not there because of club commitments (not soccer related). this pissed juergen off, and i bet you anything he was rooting for gomez to give him a reason to punish jozy.

    for whatever reason, the fact is that jozy has not played much for the us in the last year. Of course, most of his goals were scored 2, 3, and 4 years ago!! he will get back on track… he and klinsmann just need to get through this period and i think they both understand that fully.

    your point that “jozy scored under bunker-bob” is what this is all about!!! he HAS scored goals for the national team. how are you saying that he is not? he has not been scoring lately, but that is because he has started TWICE in the last YEAR

  28. If Jozy keeps it up he will be gone at the end of the season if not January.

    This would be his second really good season in a row. I can’t see keeping him much longer. His stock will be about as high as it can get and after all AZ bought him as an investment.

  29. Yeah, its reversed. Before Josey put them in against CONCACAF, and one thought, hmmm…inconsistent competition. But now he’s doing well in Europe. I think over the long run he will have a fine record for USMNT. However, Bradly scored 15 in Holland to, as did Alves who busted in Middlesbrough. Please do not take this as a slight on J.A., who is doing great. Really, he has shown good character after bouncing around Spain and Turkey.

  30. Good piece. Jozy, like Eddie Johnson, drives people to the extreme. folks need perspective. Jozy can beat people off the dribble, run at defenders, play with his back to the goal and score from long range. Name one other forward that can do half of those. It’s a coaching failure if the team can’t find a way to get him on the field to use those talents. Herc does bring a few things, but does anyone remember him at the World Cup 2010? I was in S.A. Against top level competition he just wasn’t good enough.

  31. heres my 2 cents; who cares about the past 2 years! He was scoring all over the place in qualifying and the confed cup and that was back when he was barely getting club minutes. Now that qualifying is back up and his club form is top notch i expect Jurgen to get the most out of him.

    I hope he puts a few in over the next two games in Antigua and KC and shuts up all the haters.

  32. NOT TRUE!!! wiki might be the most important website ever, right up there with SBI!

    Thanks SBI for the stats, I have been looking for something like this for a while. People don’t seem to understand that Jozy is so young. What he has done so far is incredible and he is so far ahead of most players at his age, as well as most US players in their prime. If he falls behind Gomez or Dempsey in their prime thats not a serious problem. He will be the best striker this has come up with.

  33. “IF Jozy had been started in that game then MAYBE the Nats would have scored from all that attacking play Zusi and Dolo created.”

    Sorry, I can’t play a what-if game with you. No one wins.

  34. Europe’s scoring leaders as of 10/1/12:

    – 1- Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar) 8 goals (7 games)

    – 2- Yura Movsisyan (Krasnodar) 8 goals (9 games)

    – 3- Falcao (Atlético Madrid) 7 goals (5 games)

    – 4- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG) 7 goals (6 games)

    – 4- Carlos Bacca (Club Brugge K.V.) 7 goals (6 games)

    – 6- Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 6 goals (6 games)

    – 6- Demba Ba (Newcastle) 6 goals (6 games)

    – 6- Mario Mandzukic (Bayern) 6 goals (6 games)

    – 6- Edinson Cavani (Napoli) 6 goals (6 games)

    – 6- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 6 goals (6 games)


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