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Hometown hero Altidore experiences surreal moment with latest USMNT goal



Photo by Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports


Jozy Altidore’s recent troubles have been highly publicized, but for a moment on Tuesday it all seemed to be forgotten.

Altidore scored his latest U.S. Men’s National Team goal and first since before the World Cup in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Honduras at FAU Stadium. The 24-year-old forward netted the game’s opener in the 10th minute, bringing down a ball over the top from Michael Bradley and firing a shot into the back of the net.

Altidore, who has struggled to find the field with Premiership club Sunderland during the last few weeks, was visibly pumped during his celebration. His U.S. teammates huddled around him, knowing that the finish was a special if not necessary one for the hometown hero.

“I played a lot of tournaments here at the front fields at FAU (as a kid), so it’s kind of surreal to be back here,” Altidore said. “I never though I’d play a professional game with the national team here in front of so many people who helped me get to this point.”

Altidore is now tasked with leaving the familiarity of Boca Raton, Florida, where he spent a majority of his youth, to head back to the trials and tribulations of life in England. Despite having made just four appearances with Sunderland this season, Altidore once again reiterated the message that he is prepared to continue to fight for his place.

“(I’m going to do the) same thing I’ve always been doing: just keep plugging away, trying to take my chances when they come,” Altidore said. “It’s not easy, obviously, but it is what it is with the situation I’m in and I have nothing negative to say about anybody at Sunderland.

“I like being there. I like the fans. I enjoy the coach. I have a lot of good friends there, so it’s just about making it work.”

One person who believes Altidore can make it work is U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who has been quick to come to his striker’s defense throughout the season. Klinsmann believes that Tuesday’s finish could be just the spark to to give Altidore’s season the boost it needs.

“That’s the best medicine you can get as a striker: scoring goals,” Klinsmann said. “I hoped he would have had another one to kind of finish the game off, but he didn’t really have any more chances.

“Having him back scoring is huge for his confidence. It’s good for us as well, obviously, and hopefully he takes that energy with him back to the Premier League and gets a couple of goals there as well. You’re always pleased for a striker when he scores.”

Goal or no goal, Altidore insists that his style of play won’t change. Regardless of his current form, the Sunderland forward is prepared to give his all every game in an effort to send a message for both club and country.

“It’s not about the goals,” Altidore said. “It’s about the way you approach the game, the way you play, the message you send to the other players, to everybody coming in. You care. You give everything on the field.

“Everybody is at different points at their clubs, wherever that may be, but when you step on the field and have the opportunity to play, you just try and give everything.”


  1. I actually think Jozy has matured quite nicely over the last couple of years. He’s making an effort to grow as leader on the team. His holdup play has improved, of course as others said, he seems most dangerous when running at goal. I loved his self-correction in that match yesterday: he had the ball at his feet for an early chance and played it across to Dempsey when he should have shot. And you could see in his face, he knew he should’ve been more selfish. So the next time, he took it himself, and scored. That was impressive.

    • Fact is, for now Jozy is what we have. Others have been tried. So far, no one else has shown. And while we love to knock him, we all know how much we missed him in the WC. At this point if we care at all about the USMNT we should use all collective energy spent in the past on critiquing the guy to pray to the soccer gods that he finds a place where he can play regularly. A Jozy as regular starter would have given us 2 last night. Maybe more. For someone doing nothing but riding the pine back in England, he did okay enough. Stop hating. Start praying 🙂

  2. I wish everyone would go and read the Sunderland sites about the impending January exits of Jozy and Giaccherini, they’re hilarious.

    Obviously those two are terrible players, it has nothing to do with Poyet, tactics or the (lack of) talent on their team.

    I think they could bring in all international level talent Wearside, they’d still have no idea what to do with them. I don’t know if you can even call Sunderland a club on the decline anymore.

    Also: FAU represent!

    • i was really disappointed they didn’t get relegated last year. that would be the easiest way for Jozy to get a move. hopefully he shows better this year, they get relegated and Jozy moves on.

      • Jozy can move whenever he feels like it. The problem will be finding somebody that wants him. One goal does not erase all those times he fails at the most basic football skills. Even if he goes to Barcelona he’ll still be big, strong and terribly unskilled.
        Sunderland is a horrible team,but sadly, jozy fits right in with them.

      • Yeah, I was kinda torn during that period. Naively, I thought that another season would allow them to regroup, bring in a midfield and Jozy would show well with them.

        Whatever. When Wickham leaves and they have someone else limping up forward, Jozy’ll be thankful he got out when he could.

  3. Great goal, otherwise pretty bad. Did he connect on one pass? What the heck was he doing in the midfield so much. Automatic turnover. Just shoot the da mn ball

    • jozy had 72% passing completion. not too good, but not too bad for a forward–nothing to write home about either way.

      really, you’re becoming a parody of yourself (seriously, i’m wondering if this isn’t a del griffin impostor). i get that you’re invested in jozy looking bad, but at a certain point, it’s best to just not say anything.

      • 72% when the large majority of passes are attempted in the final 3rd is a great completion %. Opta analysts constantly hammer this point home as well as guys like ESPN’s Carr and MLS’ Doyle.

      • i agree, but jozy tracked back more than most forwards do (feels weird to say that about him), so i recall a lot of his passes being further backfield.

      • looks like 75% of his passes were in the final third when looking at the Opta stuff. and almost all of his passes were in our offense half.

    • He scored a goal that no other forward in our pool could score. If you want someone to pass put Mix in at forward. If you want the best forward, Jozy is it.

    • 9 out of 32 passes were incomplete and included a “key pass” (basically means it should have been an assist). he had one successful dribble and one unsuccessful dribble. he had zero tackled and possession lost and he had 4 recoveries. so no, he did not automatically turn over and certainly not “otherwise pretty bad”.

      i will agree he HAS to shoot more. another game with only one shot, the goal. i also agree he spent too much time in the midfield. my guess is him and Dempsey agreed to switch off on that role when transitioning out of defense. he actually did better defensively than Dempsey. he also passed more than Dempsey (19 passes, 3 unsuccessful) and wasn’t far off the completion % (72% vs. 84%). and when you look at where the passes took place, Jozy attempted more passes in the final 3rd…which is always going to result in a lower pass completion %.

      i honestly think Jozy showed well over these two games given his lack of playing time at Sunderland. it was encouraging to see.

  4. Its blindingly obvious that Jozy scores when he gets the ball making runs facing goal and does not score when he is used as a hold up player with his back to goal. If Poyet doesn’t get it, Jozy needs to move somewhere with a manager who does. He is too good to be riding the pine at 24 years old because the manager doesn’t understand how to use him.

    • My days of sticking up for Jozy have sadly come to an end. You’re right… he is a bulldozer up front when facing goal. I just wish the US could produce a dynamic forward. Charlie Davies was the closest we got (aside from the unorthodox Clint Mathis).

    • While I think overall sunderland is better than last year, it’s still going to be another frustrating season for Jozy. I think they’re just good enough to miss relegation again but not good enough to be in the top ten. Agreed that he is still being used incorrectly. Don’t think De Canio was going to use him correctly either. IMO, he chose the wrong club in the EPL…again. Ironically, Hull would have been a better team for him. Imagine if he had gone to Everton. He would have been a bench player primarily, but better to ply that trade for a genius like Martinez. He also would have better players passing him the ball unlike Sunderland where he never gets a return pass.

    • You could see it within the game. He had that nice run/goal and then a lot of poor holdup play.

      All due respect but JK continues to use him as the central striker also. It just played out well because he got loose on a flank that play.

      • I’ve said this before, but I prefer Jozy withdrawn or on a wing with more of a poacher type striker in the middle. He needs to be running towards goal on and off the ball.

    • Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

      Every manager who uses Jozy as a solo target striker (except out of necessity) is a fool. How he should be used is, as Adam says, blindingly obvious.


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