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Altidore snaps 10-month Sunderland scoring slump, but club bows out of Capital One Cup

JozyAltidoreSunderland2-CarlisleUnited (Getty)


U.S. Men’s National Team and Sunderland fans will be hoping that Jozy Altidore’s latest performance is a sign of things to come.

Altidore snapped a near 10-month long scoring drought at the club level, netting the opener in the 16th minute of the Black Cats’ Capital One Cup duel with Stoke City. Altidore struck when he pulled off a nice turn and fired a low shot from just outside the penalty area, giving him his first Sunderland goal since finding the back of net against Chelsea on Dec. 4, 2013.

Unfortunately for Altidore and the Black Cats, they went on to relinquish the lead at home and were bounced out of the tournament. The Potters scored on each side of halftime to rally to a 2-1 win.

What do you think of Altidore’s goal? Expect his confidence to rise now and for him to go on a tear?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I streamed the second half… I root for Jozy, but Sunderland is still Sunderland and Jozy is still Jozy. There was lots of running with not much impact. And Sunderland’s build up play… ugh. Against a patented Stoke defensive shell there was way too much playing it safe by the d wings and d mids, and just not enough tempo and initiative to make Stoke nervous. Stoke played pretty negative, played for mistakes, worked hard, and got the second goal out of a borderline challenge that could have been called as a foul and wasn’t.

    Sunderland needs about 2 more midfielders and I doubt they’ll be able to get them even in January.

    Jozy can be frustrating when he doesn’t take on a defender when he should or when he manages to get himself completely blanketed by two defenders for a cross as opposed to finding a way to get to the ball. I can only guess his awesome physical advantage (or lack of top quality European youth academy training) while he was younger masked his need to learn how to get open in the box in a way that a teammate will have his automatic reflex triggered to deliver him the ball. I actually think his natural position is the recessed striker in a 4 4 2, because he consistently makes very good passing decisions and needs to feel his way into the game by being a playmaker and being respected by the team for that kind of play.

    But regardless, he gets subbed into Prem games, and Poyet is right to limit his time and make him earn it by scoring more. Supposedly injuries make his chance to for a place a little more likely this weekend.

  2. One goal in 10 months? for the Kool-aid drinkers, that’s all it will take to go on another Jozy tear but unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more of the same before he can really be considered a force. I keep going back to the saying “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.” Let’s see if this is the beginning of something or just a fluke

  3. why has Jozy failed at Hull and Sunderland?

    Could he succeed at a smaller club in France or Italy or Germany? what do you think? the EPL isn’t ideal for all players.

    • A lot of it is style of play and the team you are on. Honestly, he was 19 when he played at Hull and they were honestly one of the worst EPL teams that I have ever seen. Sunderland has a weak midfielder and he usually left stranded on top. He can cannot play without support like some other strikers (some guys need support strikers). Also the Dutch league like Italy give players more time on the ball (if you don’t believe me, what a few EPL/Eredivisie/Serie A games this week. I still think he would have been better at Swansea or Everton who both have MUCH better midfields and don’t leave their players too stranded. That being said, Swansea got Bony and Everton for Lukaku.

      • I’ve seen every Sunderland EPL match either on tv or live stream and they are much better than last year. They are holding the ball, making smarter decisions in both the defensive and midfield. The final ball has been lacking but that is the case of many teams, including teams far better than Sunderland. Four points in five games is hardly great, but last year I think they had but one point. Maybe Jozy doesn’t start. Maybe he is brought on for the last 20 minutes. If so, then he needs to go full tilt. IMO, this team with Rodwell, the Argentinian loan (fergini?), Buckley, and a couple of players have impressed. They can get the ball out wide this year. Whether they can deliver quality balls is a different manner. I do think their forwards will get lots of service, especially if Rodwell is consistent with his outside of the box shooting (He’s scored and forced a few big saves already. If he can do that, it will create space for the forwards.

  4. Oh my word, they can’t pay him enough. The team has 4 points after 5 games, losing to a team, in a Cup named after Capital One, that has 5 points after 5 games.

    He has to be excited about Sunderland being knocked out, there is no way he isn’t. Well maybe if there was more money involved…but other than that.

  5. With shocking consistency, Sunderland fans declared him shit. They always do. Even when he scores a goal out of nothing.

    He’ll have to score ten this season to win even half that miserable bunch over. Movement off the ball is still poor; he’s trying too hard to be a consistent target for holding up play and not enough to find space and score goals. He gave it a crack today with a quick turn and it worked. Had he listened to Sunderland’s genius fans he’d have not taken that chance and passed across the box to a more open player; and they’d have lost 2-0.

    • The Sunderland fans pay and watch Jozy regularly (like when he plays). The fact is he really isn’t that good. He may still be the best CF the USMNT has but that does not mean he should be starting in the BPL.

      • He hasn’t been good for Sunderland, or for Hull, when he was 19.

        He’s looked a very, very different guy at times for the USMNT, especially under Klinsmann, and he was tearing it up for AZ, where he scored goals for fun for two straight years. He got two goals against the Germans a summer ago in a friendly, and another two against Bosnia, in Bosnia. He was extremely effective against a Nigeria team in the Brazil send-offs…and that roster was mostly big Euro players. Also watched him turn Pujols and skunk Spain in the Confeds Cup in ’09. Too many times, against top competition, he’s been more than good enough for me to give any credibility to the notion “he just isn’t that good.”

        The physical talent and technical ability, IMHO, is there. The confidence and consistency often are not.

      • quozzel,
        You make good points as always and he is certainly better for the Nats than he is in a club environment. Hopefully he can go to a lower tier team somewhere, get regular playing time, score goals to boost his confidence and then be that player for the MNT that everybody lives in hope that he is.

      • Obviously the EPL is better than the Eredivise, so a 9 needs an even better midfield. Fact is, Sunderland’s midfield last year was poor and doesn’t look much better now. And the US’s midfield is much netter than Sunderland’s, so Altidore gets better chances with the USMNT.

        (And I don’t need to hear how much much better EPL competition is compared to what the US plays. Yes, the US gets to play Jamaica and Guatemala on occasion, but Sunderland gets to play Burnley, Palace and, last year, Fulham.)

      • Altidore may not be a gift from the heavens, but Sunderland’s midfielders are pathetic. They make poor passes, don’t support well, and shoot from dumb positions.

  6. Q: What do you think of Altidore’s goal?
    A: I think it’s a goal. It’s a start, but it’s a single goal.

    Q: Expect his confidence to raise now and for him to go on a tear?
    A: No, Altidore seems incredibly even keeled. I don’t think this goal will increase (or decrease) his confidence any. Now, let’s revisit this question after he’s scored more than 1 and gauge his confidence level.

    With that said, I’m happy he’s off the schneid and hope he’s able to net more consistently.

    • Agreed, people like to blame the Sunderland coach for his inability to score goals, saying that the coach isn’t playing him the right way, but really, as long as Altidore is being positioned in an offensive position, he should be netting more, even if his job is to be a strong number 9. He doesn’t take his chances, and often dribbles into defenses just to get shut down. Glad he got this goal, but he needs to work harder than this if he’s going to stay in the Premier League.

      • The word as used doesn’t make sense. Schneid, noun: courage, grit, moxie.

        It is pronounced shnite, rimes with night.

      • Actually Schneid is short for Schneider. Which is German for tailor. I think in gin it means the acts of taking all of the points from another opponent or the failure of the opponent to get any points. Off the Schneid has been popularized by Chris Berman at ESPN to mean getting out of a slump or losing streak.

    • I’ve never, ever gotten the sense Altidore was “even-keeled”. He tries to project it in post-game interviews, and I get the idea he’s trying very hard to be all business, and matter-of-fact, a consumate pro…all the things hardened professionals are supposed to be, but he’s still always been a burst scorer.

      When he’s hot, he’s a different guy. He’s light on his feet, his first touch is markedly better, his energy is better, and he’s predatory and opportunistic. Even English commentators have noted, when he’s in this mood, he looks like the player Emile Heskie was supposed to be.

      When he’s cold, his first touch turns to brick, his energy drops off, and he’ll pass before he shoots, and when gifted a golden opportunity, you invariably see him hesitate, dither, and ultimately fail to convert.

      You see him do a lot better in an environment where he feels valued, and has a lot of support, but he does not seem to have that chip on his shoulder that allowed Clint Dempsey to survive – and maybe even motivate him – even in the face of constant withering criticism in the EPL. I think Jozy wants everyone to like him. Clint doesn’t care.

      Which in some ways is why it stunk so bad he got hurt 20 minutes into the World Cup. You could tell by his body language through the send-off games that he was heating up again, and was probably primed for a big World Cup. I think he well could have been a difference-maker.

      That might get better as he matures – he still is relatively young – and he might even break through eventually, but I do think he’s always going to be a bit hold-and-cold.

      • I agree with all of your points. I would add that asking Jozy to be a hold up forward is ruining him. He is not wired that way and has never been successful when asked to play that role. He is wired to run at people and score. If he is going to fail, he should be allowed to do so while doing what comes naturally. Jozy himself said as much after his stint with Hull. I haven’t seen anything to make me disagree since.

      • Yeah. He definitely does better with a second striker around him, or at least a real aggressive #10/false-9 like Dempsey who’s dragging some defenders off and giving him a chance to turn. He’s gotten a lot better with his hold-up play…but he’s always been a lot more dangerous when he gets a bit of space. People REALLY underestimate how dangerous that right foot of his can be until he roofs one from 30 yards out.

      • Ask Bosnia about that free kick a 13 months ago when he got the hat trick. plus the flick on for EJs goal.

      • While I can’t deny the fact he’s 24, I will deny the recycled “he’s [still relatively] young” viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not close to retirement but he’s old enough as a man to have the required maturity necessary of a professional and has been a professional long enough to be considered a veteran.

        Jozy is 24 and should be entering his prime.

      • Historically, anyone pre-prime is considered young. The “prime” of a footballer is generally 26-28. 24 is on the higher end of “young” relative to the sport

      • You cannot be a veteran without spending more than two years in one place. I don’t care how many years you have played.

        He seems very mature to me, so not sure what makes you spit this jive talk: “He’s old enough as a man to have the required maturity necessary of a professional.” What makes you think that he does not have the “required maturity”?

      • Thank you! People make so many assumptions about these players and their maturity. I have seen enough of Jozy to come to conclusion that he is a mature 24 year old. I saw lots of immature 24 yr olds in grad school and the real world. I would say he is more mature that Suarez who is older. That being said, I also think he is a hot and cold player. That happens. Some athletes (and people are built that way). However, if he were ever able to put 2/3 seasons of consecutive 15 goals seasons at a place, he won’t be as hot and cold there (like AZ) because he will comfortable.

        LD is one of my favorite, players and I truly believe he was hot and cold unless he was comfortable somewhere. He could have played in Germany, but was not comfortable there and was COLD. He was comfortable in CA and did well in LA and San Jose. He was comfortable in Everton and did well there as well. Some people are just built that way. Some people have that inner arrogance/confidence that I can excel anywhere and everywhere.

      • Your opinions on a player being “hot or cold” is complete bs — a classic projection from a fan who has absolutely no idea about the actual variables that determine how a player will perform.

      • Had a bunch of things ready…but I’m tired, and counter-flaming message board trolls is boring.

        Have a good night, sir.

      • +1 but i’d say don lamb (if this is indeed him) usually brings more to the table.. the “you don’t know anything about football” bs really is tired and I’d leave it alone too.. Moreover, Jozy’s quality/standing on the world stage is now a beaten-and-bruised topic that is probably just making everyone sick.

        We USMNT junkies need to get through another 9 months just to get a weak Gold Cup fix…. Nobody’s making it that far at this rate.

        I still love you don lamb, but show some respect for quozz… he comes correct with his efforts, even if you don’t agree. He does know what he’s talking about, as do you.

      • Great observation. Jozy is too nice to show off his hunger and anger. Clint once puched through a thick glass window after he was told to be on the bench.
        Jozy’s Sunderland coach in Sunderland, Poyet, can also compared to Jozy’s USA Coach Klinsmann. Both were great player and both are progressive coaches.
        But Klinsmann promotes his progressive way much effectively and Klinsmann is way more ruthless in weeding out deadwoords.

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