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Klinsmann preaches patience for Altidore, urges MLS-based USMNT players to go out on loan

Jozy Altidore, Jurgen Klinsmann

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For the first time since his move to AZ Alkmaar in 2010, Jozy Altidore is living the frustrating life of a forward who isn’t scoring goals.

The U.S. Men’s National Team regular has yet to score through ten games in the English Premier League and he’s already on his second head coach since he joined this summer. Despite the scoring struggles for his club, Altidore has been more than a handful for the USA this calendar year, scoring eight times in World Cup qualifying and friendly matches combined.

USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has preached patience for the 24-year-old striker as he gets ready to face Scotland and Austria in the final two international matches of the year.

“He has a very positive attitude and has come a long way already in his young career and will get stronger,” Klinsmann told U.S. Soccer after seeing Altidore in person in last Sunday’s 1-0 Sunderland victory vs. Manchester City.

“I told him, ‘You will score your goals sooner or later’ if you have that mentality that you develop now, if you have that drive to get through those periods where you haven’t scored, which for a striker is always the most important thing. He really matured a lot over the last year and deserves a huge compliment.

“Now we need to give him patience, and I think the club has done that very well bringing him through that stretch. Hopefully for Sunderland, he starts to score more goals. They will produce chances and eventually he will score.”

While Altidore and the other European-based players work through their struggles or look to maintain some recent positive form for their club sides, the Major League Soccer-based players head into the November USMNT camp on the backs of a long and weary 2013, that’s seen players like Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, and Clint Dempsey travel across the globe for matches this season.

Dempsey in particular never really adjusted to the Seattle Sounders since he joined the club in early August, struggling with not having a preseason, injuries, and just a lack of consistency. But even though the season is over, Klinsmann has continued to push the USMNT players in MLS to go out and find a winter loan in Europe to continue playing and challenging themselves at a high level.

Klinsmann also revealed that a large intention for calling up some of the MLS-based players who’s seasons are over is to give them an opportunity to come to Europe again and see the environment’s they’d play in, in person.

“We made it clear, our priority number one for them is finding a team to get on loan for January-February into March, or if that is not possible, you have to be with us in January camp. That is mandatory. We start on Jan. 6 in Los Angeles,” Klinsmann said.

“If a player has the opportunity to go on loan, you’ve got to go for it. You’re in real competition, you’re in a real competitive environment, you’ve got to have a point to prove and kick-start 2014 that way. We all observe their individual situation. Whenever we can be of help, we will be. But it is important to us to cut short their vacation time, not making it longer than four weeks in December because it would take far too long to get back into shape and get back into a rhythm before the beginning of 2014 and we can’t afford that.”

In addition, with a handful of regular starters like Graham Zusi and Matt Besler still taking part in the MLS Cup playoffs and others like Landon Donovan or Clarence Goodson recovering from injuries, the November camp is a good chance for some players who may be on the fringes to earn a chance to be seen by Klinsmann and his staff.

One player in particular who could take advantage of his situation is Eric Lichaj, who hasn’t played for the USMNT since the 2011 Gold Cup final, the last match that Bob Bradley was in charge for. In the past two seasons, the 24-year-old struggled to earn a regular place in the Aston Villa starting lineup, but his move to Championship club Nottingham Forrest has paid early dividends, starting in 13 of his side’s 15 games this season.

As we’ve seen from players recently such as Besler, Zusi, and Alejandro Bedoya, all it takes is one opportunity for a player to prove that they deserve a place in the squad, and maybe even a place in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

“Every time someone is missing because of an injury, it’s a huge opportunity for the next one to come in and get that shot,” Klinsmann said. “If Edgar Castillo can’t come (due to injury), then suddenly Eric Lichaj has an opportunity to show where he’s at. He hasn’t been with us since I took over two-and-a-half years ago. We love these kinds of situations because it gives a special kind of energy to the group because it’s full of guys that want to prove something.”


  1. i don’t like that quote from JK about Lichaj replacing Castillo. makes me think he’ll only be used as a LB. guess we’ll see…

  2. How about this then…

    Klinsmann wants players out on loan. Dortmund is looking at signing for a short-term contract an over-the-hill 34-year-old central defender who no other team wants. Why can’t Omar move to Dortmund next week after the Austria friendly to begin a short-term loan? Or Besler can move as soon as SKC is done. Does anyone know under Fifa regs whether Omar could technically be sitting on the Dortmund bench as a short-term loanee for Dortmund’s game on November 23 against the bad guys? Or would Omar have to wait until January 1?

      • Darn. I didn’t know about that Fifa regulation? Interesting. Until hell freezes over, huh? I guess that ain’t never gonna happen, is it? Too bad. Would have been great to see either Omar or Besler playing on loan at Dortmund. Oh well. Thanks for the info.

      • Hell, Michigan. Good one. There also is a village in Austria called f**king. comes up on wikipedia on an internet search.

    • Under FIFA clubs can only sign players during the transfer window….unless said players are out of contract. Since Omar & Besler are both under contract with MLS, Dortmund (if they cared to have them) would have to wait until Jan 1st 2014.
      Agudelo, on the other hand, signed a Pre-Contract and could join Stoke once his official contract with MLS expires (whatever that date may be). However, he can’t participate in matches until he gains his work permit from the UK.

      • Additionally, Dortmund would never consider this under any circumstances, regardless of whether it might work or not

      • @Lost in Space: I wonder if they could train at Dortmund in November or December in preparation for January. It seems that a couple of winters ago that Agudelo and Beckerman were at Suttgart and/or Freiburg in Decmeber for a couple of weeks training.

  3. I was a huge critic of Altidore going to deCanio’s Sunderland because of the formation and style they use. De Canio was a fool if he thought he could use Altidore effectively upfront as a lone striker in the EPL. Klinsmann to his credit, tried to use Altidore in a similar way, but failed, to his credit Klinsmann made changes to allow Altidore players closer by him, by using withdrawn forwards (Donovan, Dempsey underneath) or forwards who played on the wing (E. Johnson) but more importantly, Klinsmann used Bradley and the midfield to get the ball into Altidore consistently. This has not happened at Sunderland where Altidore as a striker has been starved of the ball. Poyet is on the right tracjk and as the midfield for Sunderland get more confident, I think we’ll see Altidore with more of the ball and with that comes more scoring. The best thing Klinsmann can do now is get the ol Michael Bradley to Altidore linkup and get Josy scoring again.

    • Jozy is perfectly capable of functioning in a 4-2-3-1 with the USMNT or any club team with the right midfielders. The problem back then was Klinsmann was playing a 4-2-3-1 with players who were three club defensive midfielders such as Edu, Jones, Williams and one time I remember Edu was actually slotted in as the central attacking midfielder. And in those dark old days before the mutiny story forced Jurgen to change is bunker-ball ways, the USMNT was generally playing without a single player who plays at winger for his club. I think if we have three true attacking midfielders/wingers with DM’s Jones, MB, Mix, etc. free to join the attack when appropriate, that Jozy can flourish as a lone striker for the USMNT (or at Dortmund) 🙂

  4. Hmmm, just completely disagree with JK on this one. More chances for injury, it is a numbers game. More chances of being hurt when your body is broken down from too much playing too.

    Go to the Jan camp, rest, then play hard when MLS starts up, be in midseason stride when the World Cup comes. Nothing could be better, quite frankly.

    Now many are forced to not do this, by JK trying to get a few more weeks of practice in for a four year process.

    • What are you going to do wrap the starters in cotton wool for a few months?

      It may be that some of the guys who go on loan get hurt but chances are most won’t. This is a weeding out process.JK needs these guys as sharp as possible. If some get hurt along the way so be it. It’s the price of doing business.

      And if they do well they can carry that confidence over into the MLS season and the World Cup. Examples?

      Landon Donovan. Everton and his excellent 2010 World Cup.

      He will never be that good again, in part because of the wear and tear but so what?
      The USMNT gets a good performance out of him.

    • Not passing judgment, just noting what Mark Hughes has to say about the off season, and it is in direct contradiction to what Klinsmann is demanding…
      Next up for Agudelo is a trip to the English Premier League where he will join fellow Americans Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea at Stoke City. The 20-year-old forward signed a pre-contract agreement with Mark Hughes’ side earlier this year and will join the team in January after his contract with the New England Revolution and Major League Soccer expires. But before he joins, Hughes has told Agudelo to rest up after the long season he just had with the Revolution.

      “Right now, Mark Hughes, the coach for Stoke, said that it’s really important for me to have a break and not play two seasons because he doesn’t want me to burn out towards the beginning of the summer or towards the end of their season, which is something that happened to Geoff Cameron,” Agudelo said.

      • Hughes has a financial investment to protect, and is thinking of a longer career. Klinnsman’s job is three weeks next summer. He doesn’t care (professionally) about wear and tear beyond that time.

    • merit in your take seems to me. each case is different seems to me, it could benefit some but maybe not others, that approach makes more sense to me instead of just a general mandate; many could use the down time to rejuvenate the batteries.

      nice link biff

    • Injuries happen. You can’t plan your World Cup prep around preventing injuries. You have to plan to be as prepared as possible, and then hope you get lucky with injuries. The month off in December should be enough. From there on out, his players need to be focused on being 100% ready to go in Brazil.

  5. “They will produce chances and eventually he will score.” nailed it (and he should know, from the past couple of years). for whatever reason (skillset, mindset…), jozy is not the type to create chances for himself. he’s good at creating chances for others, and good at finishing off chances created for him; if sunderland can get him in scoring positions, the goals will come.

    on the other hand, “If Edgar Castillo can’t come (due to injury), then suddenly Eric Lichaj has an opportunity to show where he’s at.” i hope this is just a way to talk about roster space, and that klinsmann isn’t actually planning on playing lichaj at LB instead of RB.

    • have no fear. We can trust Jurgen not to try to sabotage Lichaj’s opportunity so he can say, “I told you so,” and then close the book on Eric Lichaj and never call him up again and instead open the door for his good buddy. Klinsmann wouldn’t do stuff like that.

    • What exactly do you mean by “create chances for himself”?

      At the highest levels how many forwards do that on any kind of regular basis for the majority of their goals?

      • not many can do it on a regular basis (messi, ronaldo, ibra, suarez), but there are quite a few strikers at the top level who just sometimes pull sh!t out of nowhere. jozy doesn’t play like that; he’s very much a ‘team’ player, with the inherent weaknesses that come with that.

    • His biggest problem is Steven Fletcher. Altidore has been steadily improving as the lone striker position. He provides a good holdup outlet and makes some top really top-notch passes, but the fans and club recognize Fletcher as the striker in the team. When Fletcher and Jozy share the pitch, Fletcher gets the ball 90% of the time regardless of who is open or has taken the better position. I don’t think Jozy’s confidence is the problem but Jozy’s teammates’ confidence in him.

      • maybe Klinsmann is regressing back to his old Klinsmann-the-Tinkerer ways. come to think of it, he actually never changed his way son that. midfielder Brad Evans at right back, left back fabian johnson as midfielder, right back Geoff Cameron at d-mid and center back, and on and on. This tinkering, I think, is the one potential Achilles Heal that could come back to bite us in Brazil.

  6. JK puts down the hammer, with good reason. Either get with a club on loan and raise your level or get your but in camp.

    No 3 months of Freddy Adu movie-sessions if you want to get on the NT. Love it.

  7. Would have been nice to see Chandler get called in, but I LOVE Lichaj being called in. Hopefully he can prove why I butted heads with so many SBI people.

    • I’m with you on this. I won’t go so far as to call him the RB savior yet, but if any defender has earned another call up over the past 6 months, it’s EL.

    • I was consistently anti-Lichaj for two reasons: (1) zero playing time and (2) potential for Dolo and Chandler at RB. This has completely changed in the last 2-3 months, so Lichaj at least deserves a look.

      Still not sold on Lichaj, but we don’t have anyone beyond Brad Evans at this point (Sorry emerald people. Yedlin is still too young).

      So, imo, Lichaj should start against Scotland.

      • I wonder what makes you or anyone think that Chandler is a better player than Lichaj. In all the games for the USNT, Chandler’s play has ranged from average to very poor. Or is it just the usual worship of non-Americans?

      • “I wonder what makes you or anyone think that Chandler is a better player than Lichaj”

        1. Using his eyes would be a could way of seeing that Chandler is the better player

        2. Chandler’s play for his club has been far above average to very good.

        3. Please give this non-American crap a rest. Seriously, the man is a citizen and that is that. Get over yourself.

    • Honestly, I don’t think his play will prove that one way or another. It was mind-boggling that he wasn’t getting a callup. Now whatever happens happens. You can’t control the outcomes. But you can control the process.

  8. “Klinsmann also revealed that a large intention for calling up some of the MLS-based players who’s seasons are over is to give them an opportunity to come to Europe again and see the environment’s they’d play in, in person.”

    Come on, don’t basic rules of English grammar no longer apply on this site?

  9. P.S.—and I will add that BVB Dortmund is now desperately seeking a central defender to replace Neven Subitic, who was injured last week and will be out the rest of the season. As a Dortmund and a USMNT fan, it would be a dream come true to see either Matt Besler or Omar Gonzales make a January move to Dortmund. With Besler’s maturity, field smarts and passing ability, he would probably be the better choice. But let’s not forget that Bundesliga team Nurnberg probably would have signed Omar had Timothy Chandler not severely injured Omar’s knee in January 2012 in the first 30 minutes of training in Omar’s first training session with Nurnberg. What might have been…

    If Dortmund would show any interest in either Omar or Besler I would hope that MLS would let it happen. It would mean a transfer fee probably in either the high single- or low double-digit millions and MLS could recoup some of the millions wasted paying the bloated transfer fee to Tottenham for Clint Dempsey (Tottenham, I bet, would have let Clint go for a token payment of maybe 1 million just to get him off the books). And if Besler or Omar would go to Dortmund would be great for the development of a key USMNT defender and mean extensive PR for MLS if an MLS grad is playing for the world’s favorite underdog team.

    Jurgen Klinsmann should give Jurgen Klopp a phone call about Besler and Omar.

    • Dortmund were the runners-up in the Champions League last year, and are one of the top 5 teams in Europe. There is absolutely no chance that they will bring in Altidore, Besler, or Gonzalez to play any role at the club. Especially when Altidore HASN’T SCORED A LEAGUE GOAL THIS SEASON.

      Perspective, please get some.

      • biff is typically in the know about the Bundesliga and stuff in general

        It’s a big stretch to think Gonzo or Besler would be in that conversation, but I’m willing to give biff some leeway on this one.

        If Gonzo goes lights out against Scotland & Austria…who knows? That said, I think Gonzo would be too error-prone to hold the starting spot at Dortmund (if he managed to score it) unless he scores on a header every game to make up for his gaffes.

      • Dortmund have a super thin squad…. Besler isn’t good enough to be a starter but they have almost nothing after the first 11. A massive drop in quality outside of midfield.

    • Dream on. Of course we all would love the situation that you just described (and I don’t even think Besler or Jozy would do that bad at Dortmund), but Dortmund is now at a level that their fan base and front office demands the highest quality signings with experience on top teams from the highest level leagues. They still might not get THE premium players, but not far off. Especially, with the money they are receiving from selling some of their best players they will be looking to poach a fringe player from one of the top 10 clubs in Europe. Someone maybe a little disgruntled they are not starting the majority of the matches. I’m sure there are some pretty recognizable names in that position.

      I will say this though, Dortmund do seem to find diamonds in the rough and get great value from those investments. So I guess we can all dream.

    • Besler or Gonzalez to replace Subotic…..I had a chuckle reading this.
      I hear Barcelona and Real Madrid are also looking for defenders.
      Klinsmann should give them a call.

      • Sorry man, neither of these guys is truly great, even by MLS standards (for example, I think that Goncalves is a better central defender than either as of now, and he’s hardly a world beater). The guy that’s been catching my eye (which means nothing) is Chris Schuler; it would be interesting to see where his career takes him.

      • There were some guys talking up Chris Schuler on the SBI roster thread yesterday. The thing is, it’s so much harder for a a player who does not play for the national team to get a serious look from a European club. I don’t think we would have seen Cameron and Ream and especially Brek Shea moving to England had not been for their USMNT appearances. So even if Schuler is better than Besler and/or Omar, a coach in Europe probably would choose Besler or Omar simply because his majesty, Jurgen Klinsmann, has anointed them as solid members of the USMNT.

        So tell me, is Schuler better than the current out-of-form 20-year-old John Anthony Brooks, who I don’t think deserved a call-up for these friendlies and who I don’t think will develop fast enough to be adequate help next summer in Brazil? (Famous last words, the kid will prove me wrong in Glasgow and Vienna with MOTM performances.)

      • I have seen very little of Brooks and these next two friendlies should help SBI readers form their views of him. For Hertha last year (in Bundesliga 2), he looked surprisingly nimble in a couple of games that I saw portions of. With Schuler, a call up would have been premature at this point; it’s just that there is something about his game and demeanor that inspires confidence.

      • Who cares that he is out of a contract, where has he played the last few years? Just some tiny club called Bayer Leverkusen.

        But I guess that club isn’t at Omar or Besler’s level.

    • Dortmund have an adequate replacement in Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos. He’s been a spot starter since his move for Werder Bremen. Now he will slide into Subotic’s place with relative ease and Dortmund probably won’t miss a beat. There is no need to bring in a Besler or Gonzalez. Dotrmund has too much at stake and cannot rely on a player untested in the Bundesliga or any top league for that matter.

      • They’re trying out free agents because the transfer window is shut and they can’t bring in anyone currently with a club. I don’t think Dortmund would be interested in any of the players you mention.

      • Yes, I read the post and I also read the link, too. Despite what the article says, Friedrich is not a replacement for Subotic in the lineup — Sokartis is that player. Freidrich would be a “roster” replacement and would find himself making up the numbers on the bench. They need a bench CB and that’s Friedrich. It would be short-term probably until December when BVB can pick someone up via transfer or promote one of their youth players on a permanent basis. they have two German youth international CB’s., if I’m not mistaken. BVB are not in crisis mode despite what the press have indicated. They have suitable “replacements” and have no business bringing in Gnco or Besler.

      • I think Sokratis is already playing in the back 4. I think they are down to zero cover. I think Biff has a bit too much optimism but Dortmund do have issues.

        Also Greek international is not exactly anything to be super proud of. They are competent but hardly stunning.

    • Yes, MLS and Seattle got bitter deal on Dempsey. He does not worth for that kind of money and salary. He will be a sunken boat for Seattle and Klinsman. I hope JK will learn a lesson from Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, they both stuck with unproductive Reyna and Clark resulting failed to Ghana twice. Dempsey and Beasley should not on the MNT roster.

    • If you think Spurs would have given away Dempsey that cheaply, then you don’t know Daniel Levy…

      I can’t even address this Dortmund stuff, honestly…

    • With all the money Spurs received for Bale, they probably could have taken Dempsey off their books for half of what MLS paid. IMO, at least this year, he has been a bigger failure than Altidore who has virtually no help at Sunderland and probably won’t be getting any until at least the January transfer window.

  10. As a critic last year of Jozy’s bad USMNT form, I will say that after watching Jozy in the Premier League with Sunderland I honest-to-gosh think he is now good enough to play as a lone striker, ala Robert Lewandoski, for Dortmund. Jozy’s late cameo role performance Sunday against Man City was phenomenal. He oozed confidence and his touch was fantastic and he made all the right passes. I am not saying Jozy is (yet) at the level of Lewandoski, who is truly world-class, just that I think he is capable of playing well in the Dortmund system and Dortmund is actively looking for Lewandoski’s replacement and I would love to see Jurgen Klopp in the stands in either Glasgow or Vienna scouting Jozy.

    • Altidore has a lot of talent but he is a confidence striker. When his confidence is up he plays well when its down then not so much. Altidore also needs a good supporting cast to create chances for him. If Altidore doesn’t have a good midfield he will not find his own chances like Dempsey.

      • Would a midfield consisting of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (or Jakub „Kuba“ Błaszczykowski), Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Marco Reus suffice 🙂

        Jozy’s excellent hold-up play against Man City reminded me of Lewandoski–totally poised and in control.

      • yeah, i can get pretty excited thinking about. I would love to see big Jurgen Klopp giving Jozy one of his famous bear hugs after a good game and the Dortmund fans would love Jozy.

      • “but he is a confidence striker.”

        Yeah? So what? Do you mean that when he is playing well he is confident so he scores? Isn’t that true for most players? And he needs a good supporting cast? Don’t most forwards?

        If your game is based on getting the ball at the halfway line and beating the entire opposing team to score, how many times do you think any player can do that?

        Do you think if Messi played for Chivas USA he would score at the same rate he does for Barca? I think it has gotten better recently but for a long time Messi scored for Argentina at exactly half the rate he did for Barca.

        Clint is a better scorer than Jozy but that is because he looks to score more than Jozy does. Fulham needed him to score and their attack was organized around him. Same with the USMNT though he often split that duty with Landon.

        Jozy has never been relied on as the primary scorer for the US until just recently.

        Soccer is a team game, always was and always will be.

    • Yeah that’s never ever going to happen. You mean to tell me that they’re going to replace one of the best pure strikers in the world, with a player who hasn’t scored yet this season for one of the worst teams in the EPL. I love altidore and what he brings but dortmund is way out of his league. He should just focus on playing well for sunderland so if they do go down, another epl club will pick him up

      • Your being naïve and are totally uninformed if you think Dortmund is out of his league smh…..If Jozy had the players around him that Borrusia had he’d score goals at a good clip similar to what Lewandowski is! Now, am I saying jozy is as good as Lewandowski? No. However, Jozy is a lot to deal with and presents problems to defenses that Lewandowski can’t. All said, Jozy can definitely play at Dortmund!

      • I think your both absolutely out of bounds on this. I love jozy and think hes a fantastic player, however dortmund, who are one of the best teams in europe are not going to buy a striker from sunderland with no goals to his credit, yes he doesn’t get great service but quite a few players in the epl don’t get great service and still produce. For example like benteke at villa

      • @Chris: Read again Ronnie T’s words of wisdom, I mean, comment. His argument, and I agree, is that with the great support he would have at Dortmund, he has the skills to take advantage of the support and would be scoring goals. I will say right now that Jozy is better than Dortmund back-up forward Julian Schieber. No question in my mind about that.

      • Jozy is definitely better than Dortmund’s backup striker….
        Julian Schieber is pretty bad to be honest…. I mean like Schieber is close to terrible.

        So could they use him? Ya, but only because they can’t draw two High End strikers.

      • Wilfried Bony, a player who was often neck and neck with Jozy on the scoring charts in Holland, is doing good with Swansea. He has a number of goals and looks good.

        He is more of a traditional center forward than Jozy but the biggest difference I see is he plays for a Swansea team that is far better than Sunderland at giving Bony chances. Switch teams and I’m certain Jozy would have scored by now.

        Jozy is not Lewandoski but he one day might be.

      • I watch Bony at Swansea… he looked pretty poor. Mind you I only say like 2 games and it was 2 months ago. But yeah it helps that Swansea is far better than Sunderland.

      • I can’t say I agree with that. I’ve seen Bony create opportunities for himself and others. They’re not the same team when he doesn’t play. It’s not just his teammates.

      • THIS year, Hull FC is a better team than Sunderland. They have a crap midfield and almost all of Jozy’s touches have come with his back to the goal and he lays the ball off for someone else. He has had some chances but they are rare. For example, I think Dempsey has had more chances for Seattle than Altidore has for Sunderland. And Jozy got robbed out of a legitimate goal against Arsenal.

    • On a separate but related note it’s nice how soccer IQ of the posters on this site so much higher than ESPN boards. I spent an hour arguing with someone over there that claimed Fletcher had better touch and passing than Altidore. But seriously, Poyet can clearly see what Jozy brings to the table and knows that he prefers to play passing football. I’m hoping maybe after the break that Poyet can get the team playing better soccer and see Jozy bang in some goals

      • Jozy definitely thrives in combination and overall I’d say his passing his better than Fletcher’s, and I think their touch is about equal. Jozy, however, is more inconsistent with his passing and touch IMO. He’s capable of beautiful sequences, but I’d like to see him cut down on the touches that make me cringe and make him look amateur. Honestly, if you don’t watch him all the time, your views of him are going to be colored by which particular sample you see.

      • Agreed. ESPN’s boards are filled w/ haters and El Tri trolls. SBI has its quirks like the Wondo sarcasm but at least most of the OPs here understand football.

    • you hope that sometime soon we see Jozy on a top team with service, he is putting in his time at Sunderland — hopefully a move soon, either a move for him or a midfielder for Sunderland..


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