Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
It was another disappointing day for struggling Sunderland, but there was a bit of good news from an Americans Abroad perspective.
Jozy Altidore got the nod for the Black Cats in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, and the U.S. Men’s National Team striker went the distance despite seeing his scoring drought extend to 15 games. Altidore has now played the full 90 minutes in each of Sunderland’s last two games and three of the last five, which seems to indicate that his standing within the club is better than it was a few weeks back.
Another player who played the entirety of his team’s match on Wednesday was Fabian Johnson. The 26-year-old Johnson got his latest in a string of starts at right back for Hoffenheim, and helped the club post a 3-1 triumph over Hannover.
A negative development came, however, in Rapid Vienna’s 3-0 victory vs. FC Magna Wr. Neustadt. Terrence Boyd was left on the bench in the match, though an explanation might be that he started and went the distance in last Saturday’s victory over Wolfsberger AC. Boyd had started each of the previous four matches.
Here is how the Americans Abroad performed on Wednesday:
- Jozy Altidore started and played 90 minutes in Sunderland’s 2-1 loss vs. Liverpool.
- Sebastian Lletget did not dress in West Ham United’s 2-1 win vs. Hull City.
- Fabian Johnson started and played 90 minutes in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 3-1 win vs. Hannover 96.
- David Yelldell did not dress in Bayer Leverkusen’s 3-1 win vs. FC Augsburg.
- Timmy Chandler did not dress in FC Nurnberg’s 2-0 win vs. VfB Stuttgart. He is recovering from a knee injury.
- Bobby Wood came off the bench and played four minutes in TSV 1860 Munich’s 2-1 win vs. Energie Cottbus.
- Andrew Wooten came off the bench and played nine minutes in FSV Frankfurt’s 2-1 loss vs. FC Erzgebirge Aue.
- Terrence Boyd dressed but did not play in Rapid Vienna’s 3-0 win vs. FC Magna Wr. Neustadt.
What do you think of these performances? Happy to see Altidore getting a consistent dose of heavy minutes despite he and Sunderland’s struggles? Starting to see Johnson as a legitimate option at right back for the USMNT?
Share your thoughts below.
One thing was especially interesting about that play when Jozy didn’t get his head on the deflected cross.
As they were getting ready for the free kick, O’Shea suddenly gave Jozy a jab in the chest, and with a big grin said something to him, that seemed to me like, “This one’s going to be yours!”
Ironic that Jozy was inside his marker, positioned perfectly, when he went up and forward to head the ball. In that instant, O’Shea was there, probably intending to flick it on, but deflecting it away from Jozy instead.
I think of it as a glimmer of hope. For all that he can look as though he’s lost the spark of anticipation, Jozy went after that ball very well.
Go for it, Altidore!
First, wanna make absolutely clear that Jozy did not miss an easy header. O’Shea on a corner kick had an open head shot 2 to 3 yards from goal and sent the ball into the stratosphere. No was behind O’Shea waiting the ball before O’Shea popped up and blew it. Jozy was disappointed, because he was placed perfectly to put it in net.
All that said, Jozy looked down, at times appeared almost catatonic. The lack of confidence is very much apparent and I agree with the announcers that a more confident Jozy would not have passed to the off-sides teammate but would have gone for goal.
Sunderland looked good when Ki and Johnson came on as subs around 70th minute. Actually, Ki was exceptional and do not understand why Swansea loaned him to Sunderland. Liverpool were on their back feet at the end and getting nervous and Sunderland came very close to nicking a point.
I guess you might say his standing has improved, or you might say that Fletcher is hurt again and Sunderland have no one else to play the point forward. Jozy’s season has been an unmitigated disaster and there’s no other way to paint it. Blame the coach. Blame the second coach. Blame the formation. Blame the players. Blame whoever you want, the fact remains that Jozy has tried to punch above his weight and failed this season. If he needs perfect service, if he needs midfielders who create on and off the ball, then he should have done more research before accepting the move to a club that tried to do a rebuild on a budget.
Most teams in England are not Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, City, et al, who play beautiful with sharp passing and unselfish running. There are far more teams like Hull, Norwich, Fulham, Sunderland, Wigan, Stoke, etc that lack those talents and play a more formulaic, direct game. Yes, Jozy went from playing on one of the best teams in a league not known or defending to one of the worst teams in a league known for defending, but even so, middling forwards on route-1 teams score goals now and then. When the chances fall, it seems Jozy is never in the right place.
Jozy should not be looking for a way out of Sunderland. He should be looking within himself to find the hunger to make life difficult for CBs for 90 minutes. He should be improving his first touch and not masking it with flick-ons. There’s too much deference in his play, and that’s not what we need going into the tournament. His game is way too simple and way too predictable for the level he’s on, and if the team is pushing that agenda, he needs to go above and beyond.
Jozy should have never gone to Sunderland. While I want him to be in good form and score, there is a part of me that is afraid Sunderland will retain his services next season if he starts scoring. Then we will have another year of this shit.
4 games. They might have 9 left on the schedule, but realistically Sunderland’s season is now down to 4 games. They’ve still got away matches to Man City, Man U, Chelsea and Tottenham, and on current form, I can’t see taking any points from those games. They also have Everton at home and might, might be able to sneak a point there. If I’m Poyet, the 4 games I’m focusing on are West Ham, Cardiff, Swansea and West Brom at the Stadium of Light. Despite how terrible Sunderland have looked, those are all winnable. The full 12 points from those games would put them at 37 and probably keep them up this year. For as crap a season as Jozy has had (not all his fault for sure, but still crap nonetheless), if he can find away to pick it up down the stretch, score a couple of key goals and help them avoid the drop it would go a long, long way for his confidence and a long way with the Sunderland fans.
That said, if they were to get relegated, does Jozy stay or go? Does it depend on his performance in the World Cup?
They deserve relegation if they’re already giving up 15 points before kicking a ball.
I wonder if Poyet will change from employing a defensive lineup even at home when he has to win all those games. Even at home against weaker clubs he will start off with only one striker and wait until about the 70th minute before bringing on another attacker and adjusting his formation. As bad as Sunderland is, his tactics haven’t helped and have hurt, IMHO.
Players we can’t loose before the World Cup, 1. Bradley 2. Fabian 3. Cameron
1. Bradley 2. Bradley 3. Bradley
+1. Bradley makes the entire team better.
What does it matter? We’re not winning the trophy. We can’t lose ____ because without him we won’t do what? Making it out of the group will feel like victory, and if losing one player makes that impossible, then we shouldn’t even be there.
that midfield is awful. truly awful. the subs at least had an impact.
People are just burnt out about Jozy. After scoring a solo goal after 20 odd matches, there’s nothing more to say. Jozy is just an alright forward, not the striker we have hoped for. When Lalas continues to say “Form is Fallacy,” he sounds increasingly ignorant.
Sutherland is a mess. Jozy did pass up a chance to put one on frame and chose to pass to a teammate in the offside position. It did show a lack of confidence on Altidore’s part. We all know he isn’t getting service but his hold up play wasn’t great today either. It has been a disastrous season and I doubt teams will be standing in line for his services. MLS seems to be the logical next step.
Actually, Jozy is even hurting his MLS stock w/ his performance. I doubt he receives anything close to Bradley money. He just doesn’t affect the game on the pitch and outside the pitch to warrant that moolah.
Jozy isn’t coming back to MLS anyway. he’ll go back to the Netherlands before he’s be back in MLS.
Depends on what the Dutch teams pay him. I don’t think managers rate him as an elite striker anyway; more of a beneficiary of poor defense and strong midfield players. Ultimately, Jozy (and USMNT) hurt himself big time w/ this Sunderland move. Given the expectations relative to the production, he will go down as one of the biggest EPL American busts ever. I’m trying to think of a bigger American bust given the factors involved.
AZ would, they have already said that. he is making about $3.7M at Sunderland. he made $2.2M at AZ. an MLS team would have to pay his market value in transfer fee (~$8.3M) plus fork out that kind of salary, if not more (similar to how TFC landed Bradley).
i’m not saying it can’t happen, but i highly doubt it. i also think it’s total hyperbole to say he’ll go down as the biggest American flop in EPL history. he’s played for Hull and Sunderland, who were/are absolutely terrible. it might be two of the worse EPL moves for American players though. Sunderland should have never been an option…but hindsight is always 20/20.
I’m sorry but based on his body of work
In the EPL, Jozy is a historic bust. Each week, his defenders are coming to this realization.
“ I’m trying to think of a bigger American bust given the factors involved”
The factors should include fact that neither Hull City nor Sunderland were organized teams when Jozy got there. Fulham was when EJ got there and I’m not sure he even got onto the field with them .
Jozy is at least getting quite a lot of playing time and has improved his all around game since he went to Sunderland.
I can’t see Jozy as a bigger bust than EJ was. Besides the story isn’t over yet.
Jozy should have 6-7 games left with Sunderland and he will have the World Cup as a shop window to showcase himself.
If he can’t separate himself in a small pond, what makes people think he’d crack the lineup at a better club? He needs to prove himself and doesn’t need people making excuses for him.
i actually disagree. i know the announcers said that, but FOUR liverpool players closed Jozy down which meant his shot wasn’t going to go through. instead, he picked out the guy who was then wide open…unfortunately the guy went too early and was off.
if he was onside, everyone would have been saying it was a great pass from Jozy to attract so many defenders and then lay it off.
Exactly. My opinion as well. He would have been blocked for sure if he had attempted a shot. The pass was the smart option. I thought Jozy played well. His team absolutely stinks. I so wish he was on a team that actually passes the ball.
The way I saw it, he had a clear shot if he shot it first time as soon as he got it. However, it would have been very difficult to beat the keeper because he had a small window. His best bet was to shoot quickly and very hard and hope for a rebound is what I thought. With Sunderland there are very, very few opportunities, so a striker can’t hesitate.
That pass to Catermole or Gia (forget which) was the right one, Jose was completely surrounded and to slip the ball through to him was defintely the right decision because he was just barely offsides which Jose couldn’t see and if he was onsides would’ve had a much better chance on goal. Jose had nowhere to go and his shot would’ve been blocked. That 1 pass was Jose’s only touch inside the 18 all game. Sunderland’s build up play is sooo slow and predictable that no forwards on that team will get many chances per game.
Sunderland are painful to watch (thanks Jozy). No push or energy, they only looked like they were trying in the last 10 mins. numerous passes out of bounds, messed up plays, poor decisions.
As for Jozy, IMO he had some good touches here and there, but was not at all involved, needs to be FAR more selfish, and his runs off the ball are horrible. He must be the easiest guy in the EPL to not lose as your mark. He didn’t blow any plays today, but was just not to involved.
I still believe one goal could snap him out of it, but there is likely no chance that comes for Sunderland this year. He’ll be lucky if he manages 2-3 good looks the rest of the year there.
This is one thing I absolutely agree with. Every Sunderland game I watch Jozy to see his off the ball movements and they are pretty lame. He’s never going to get open like that. He needs to do better.
Agreed about Jozy’s movement. He seems to float around in the central position without making any meaningful runs. He posts up on a CB here and there but he’s never checking to or making runs behind with purpose. No speed or suddenness to his movement whatsoever. Even when the ball goes out wide in a decent crossing position he just floats into the box hoping it gets to him. He needs to charge to the near post or by his marker.
He doesn’t seem to be have any hunger for the ball which is worrying. He’s either given up that they will make a decent pass to him or doesn’t realize his movement is ineffective.
This lack of movement is what made Villarreal give up on him. You figure if you can get that beast of a man moving and making defending harder for the other team, it opens up everyone else.
Teams play Jozy like he’s a wall to bounce passes off of because that’s how he plays.
But if you noticed one thing that was different today, the entire first half Jozy was playing far out to the right… and what was funny was how robotic he looked at times making sure he was positioned correctly, obviously part of the game plan.
I don’t know if Poyet thought it would get him some confidence, or if it was just part of a failed game plan.. but it was awkward watching. They looked better after they made a few subs, and he played in the middle the second half…
But they suck so bad it really doesn’t matter… does it…
I read in ESPN’s Boot Room that Altidore missed a tap in on a cross from Johnson around the 90th minute or extra time that would have tied the game. Can anyone who watched the game tell me if this is true or not? What exactly happened?
There was a John O’Shea header that should have been the equalizer that Jozy was near to. I wouldn’t say he missed a tap in. O’Shea should have scored and Jozy had little time to react to the miss.
No, o’Shea had a free header and should’ve scored. But he got a touch on it and it whizzed by Altidore who had no chance.
I didn’t see that. O’Shea missed a header from 2 yards… just skimmed off his head when he was unmarked… shoulda put it on goal easy
Jozy was coming in behind it and tried to react when it deflected off O’Shea, and the cameras initially went to Jozy.. but he had no chance
That’s the only play I saw that it could have been
Ok so we were all typing at the same time…
Hah, seeems so.
Not true. Johnson laid a set piece directly on the head of John O’Shea, who missed the free header and angled it across the goal mouth instead of redirecting on goal. Jozy dove on the ground but he was nowhere close to the ball – it appeared initially from his body language that he missed the shot since it was a bang bang play.
A couple things. Jozy got the full 90 likely because Borini wasn’t available since he is still Liverpool property. Having a striker go the full 90 without a single shot on goal should not be considered a “good” development. He played OK, set up a few opportunities, but was otherwise a non-factor.
Also, the announcers on ESPN were killing me. The analyst kept saying it was the striker’s fault for “not holding” the ball up. Meanwhile, Sunderland has zero zero zero quality in the midfield, and practically no service. I know it’s a crappy excuse, but I did not see one single player on Sunderland place either Jozy or Wickham in a advantageous position throughout the game. Adam Johnson has some skill he would rather launch a shot from 40 yards than play 1-2s with either of the strikers. I think Jozy is over rated as a striker, but his agent really hasn’t helped him at all via moves to Hull or Sunderland.
Yeah, the announcers make no mention of how crap O’shea and Cattermole are when they send numerous passes right by their targets and out of bounds. Even a blind man can see Sunderland have zero midfield presence. Ki and Johnson helped some, but the former is a bit soft, and the latter is quite one dimensional.
When every pass is either just front of someone or behind them it’s impossible to build a rhythm, and that’s pretty clear on Sunderland.
I’ve been a critic of Altidore for much of the season, but this was not his fault. O’Shea did more harm than good by misdirecting it away from goal and Altidore.
Sunderland’s style of play does not benefit Altidore. There is no midfield general who controls the play and can make the decisive pass. The passes go to the craziest places, especially out of bounds and to the other team.
Is it too late for a loan to MLS?
I also watched much of the Barcelona game Wednesday as well as the second half of Sunderland. Comparing Barcelona and Sunderland, it’s like they are playing two different games. Barcelona is football and Sunderland is anti-football. There were a few games in the middle of the season where Sunderland had patches of playing well, stringing some passes together and moving the ball around, but generally their passing wouldn’t do justice to a good high school team. One of Jozy’s strengths has been his passing, but he rarely has anyone to pass to who can score. He had one good look from the top of the box but chose to pass to a teammate coming in on the left. He really needs to shoot more.
what?!?! i watched the game. it was NOT jozy who missed…
O’Shea missed it and it went out of bounds. if O’Shea had left it, Jozy would have had a great chance. but it’s irrelevant because O’Shea did put a head on it and he missed.