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Altidore, Morales to be replaced by USMNT for Gold Cup knockout rounds


Photo by Stew Milne/ USA Today Sports


Jozy Altidore has drawn the support of Jurgen Klinsmann throughout the U.S. Men’s National Team Gold Cup run, a run that will now continue without the forward.

Altidore has left the USMNT to return to TFC following Monday night’s 1-1 draw with Panama, announcing his departure on Twitter.

Klinsmann is allowed to make up to six swaps ahead of the knockout rounds, of which Altidore is one, joining Alfredo Morales, who announced his departure in Instagram. No replacements have been named to this point.

Altidore featured in the USMNT’s first two group stage contests, starting both but playing just 105 minutes in total. Hampered by an injury suffered with Toronto FC, Altidore referred to himself as “slow”, stating that his fitness was having a major impact on his play.

Regardless, Klinsmann continually backed the TFC forward, stating that Altidore’s fitness would improve as the tournament wore on. However, Klinsmann has opted to go with a different option in naming a replacement for Altidore going forward.

Morales, meanwhile, made his first appearance of the tournament in Monday’s draw with Panama, but was subbed off for the second half of play.

The USMNT returns to action Saturday for a quarterfinal match to be held in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

What do you think of Altidore and Morales’ removal from the roster? Who do you think should be brought in?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Beasley would be a good replacement for Morales. I don’t think there needs to be another forward. How about Brad Davis. He sounds like the kind of person who can play up but also support the midfield.

  2. I honestly I’m really liking the Deuce-Zardes combo. They are both very compatible, and playing alongside Dempsey will only help Zardes even more. Once thing I’ve noticed about Dempsey is he’s always good working with younger players next to him. I remember reading about that when he was at Fulham, too. Dempsey can handle the pressure, finish, create, and bounce off players well into space. Dempesy is clever, and Zardes has been getting some things done in the final third that Deuce can put away. Zardes needs that veteran/star presence to thrive. Zardes’ main strength from what I’ve been hearing from JK, Deuce, and Bradley is that he is eager to learn and great work with, and that goes perfectly with Deuce.

    • Dempsey’s a little bit of a black hole at times when a pass might be a better option to produce a goal. He’s worthy, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure he’s the perfect mentor.

  3. I simply do not get why people keep saying Zardes is better on the flank. The goal happened while he was at forward. He was instrumental in the build up. His success against Germany and the Netherlands occurred when he ended up in a position usually occupied by a forward, off the shoulder or combination play in central positions.

    He is fast and he is willing and able to track back defensively, so he ends up on the wing. The magic happens when he is striker spots, whether he is officially playing that position or not. Bruce Arena knows enough to play Zardes at forward until he needs to kill the game off. Then he takes advantage of that incredible engine that can run for 90 minutes even after running an chasing at the forward position and puts him on the flank.

    The USMNT still hasn’t seen him in transition yet because he doesn’t get enough minutes at forward, or Klinsman uses central midfield pairings that limit service to the forwards. Just once I’d like to se Beckerman and MB in the middle with Zardes and Dempsey at forward. Those have been very productive partnerships.

    Based upon what I’ve seen from JK, we won’t see it any time soon.

    • Zardes’ greatest strength is as a midfielder. As a forward he is not going to score much with Dempsey near him. The reason why Dempsey plays well with younger players is because they look up to him. The older player know his unwillingness to give them goal opportunities. I think that is partly why Altidore didn’t play well. Dempsey wants the goals for himself.

    • I think we will see Zardes up front in a year or two. The difference is that when he plays wing, he basically only has a fullback to beat. When he is a striker in the middle, he finds himself surrounded by two or three defenders. This negates his speed and puts a premium on his ball skills. Right now he is best running at defenders at full speed. He is not yet so good on hold-up play or on dribbling around defenders in tight spaces, although he is improving there. He can succeed with playing as a striker in MLS because it is a much more open game than international tournament games which are usually very defensive and physical.

  4. Said in an earlier post that I thought Morales and Altidore were headed home.

    Also think Beasley and probably Agudelo (or MAYBE Gordon) are the likely replacements.

    Beasley is almost a lock. You know he can hold down the LB spot, which moves Fabian Johnson over to right back and you’ve fixed both spots.

    Agudelo is probably what you want against CONCACAF. JK might bring in Gordon to win headers against El Salvador or Guatamala if he’s that worried about it…but I doubt he is; I think it’s Agudelo. But JK can publicly cite “fitness” all he wants, but he was not happy with Altidore after the first two games. He’ll tolerate that kind of inconsistency in a young player, but Altidore is now 25 and should be hitting his peak…JK’s patience, I suspect, is wearing thin. Vets need to produce…consistently. This was a direct warning shot fired across Altidore’s bow.

  5. I’m glad that Klinsmann read this board and decided, “Yeah, they’re right, Jozy needs to go home and rehab”!! He just was not contributing. looked slow, passes were out of sync. Kudos to Klinsmann for making the move. Good move on Morales too. He was awful against Panama, and looked out of sync with the team, failed to go forward, and Killed, several good opportunities with indecision, bad passes and poor judgement.

    Who to bring in?

    You would think that JK would bring in like for like, in that he would replace a mid and a striker with the same. While he might do that, he could address the back line by bringing in Beasley, which he might, thinking ahead of a rematch with Mexico. But I think he should go with Gordon on top, meshes well with Wondo, and is a good central forward should JK want a lone forward formation. And yes when you look at the time when Keane was out, Gordo started and played 90 with Zardes up top, although he is “the Super Sub”! I would like to see Kitchen, in the USMNT mix he is great going forward!

  6. Honestly, I think the defensive struggles have been fairly overstated. Complete lack of midfield control has led them and Guzan to be under siege at times.

    Alvarado was horrible on the goal, Chandler still turns it over too much, but the back line is winning most of their battles. Simply put, the midfield needs to improve, and the overall product will certainly go along with it.

  7. Altidore should not be replaced. Big mistake. Still our best Stryker. Wondo is garbage. Zardes was poor up front, but better when moved to the wing. Aron and Dempsey are all that’s left up top. This team needs Jozy. I hope I’m wrong on that. Agudelo should be one of the ones brought in.

    Morales was played out of place again, will reserve judgement on hin until he gets a fair chance as a center mid.

    Zusi and Wondo should have been sent packing.

    Klinsi is going to stick by Chandler, and I understand why given our lack of options at RB. However that experiment/growth needs to happen after the tournament. DMB or Garza should play LB, with Fabian at RB.

    Alvarado will be solid long term, but he’s not there yet. Brooks is our best CB right now and will be for a long time. He will be sorely missed in the quarters. Would like to have seen Besler or Orozco.

    Changes I thought should be made:
    Orozco for Alvarado
    Beasley for Chandler
    Corona for Zusi
    Nguyen for Morales
    Agudelo for Wondo

    My 11 for the quarters:
    Gk: Guzan
    LB: Beasley
    CB: Ream
    CB: Gonzo
    RB: Fabian
    LM: Zardes
    CM: Beckerman
    CM: Bradley
    RM: Yedlin
    ST: Dempsey
    ST: Aron

    • “This team needs Jozy.”

      *Doesn’t name him in starting 11*


      Unfortunately, he’s just not fit enough to help right now.

      • Oops, combined your last bit into a hypothetical “who you would want in the quarters” if JA was still around. My bad.

        If Beas comes in, I do like that starting 11, although I’d go with Bedoya on the wing.

      • I think in the quarters, he’s best served to come in late as a sub. He’s not 100%, whether that be injury or fitness/sharpness. If it’s the latter, you don’t send him home, as he can be a difference maker for us in the semis and final.

    • I would love to agree with you right now about Jozy being our top striker besides Deuce, which I will still stand by that, but he still isn’t 100% and it shows. I think we are giving too much flak to Altidore, atm. But because he’s clearly still dealing with the effect of his injury and also looks very cautious.

  8. Hello people. The Gold Cup is an ugly contest. No one in CONCONCAF plays the “beautiful game.”

    It is a very phyical style of play where the ref’s motto is “No bone sticking out, no foul.” and if its the US being fouled at least two bone must be exposed.

    Offensive cohesion is hard to come by. Thats why we have consistently won the Gold Cup by being bigger, faster and stronger with the emphasis on bigger and stronger.

    If you expect to see 35 pass sequence goals like we scored in Europe earlier your dreaming.

    Bring on the big bodies and tackle harder than the other guy and we will win. Try to play the beautiful game and go home.

    • That’s a cop out. We played beautifully last Gold Cup with Donovan leading the team. And Mexico played beautifully in 2011 when they trucked us. The decision making of this team is atrocious. Hopefully gets better…

      • Last Gold Cup the competition was not A-teams. One could argue that we didn’t have our A-team either. the top 11 of most of the Concacaf teams are very talented and very good at bush league tactics…europeans don’t play that way…

        for example, morales was out of position and has never played in concacaf dirt style…he looked like a deer in headlights…

    • That’s not a lot different from most of the games in Copa America. Tournament games are usually slug it out, take no prisoners affairs.

  9. Jozy’s fitness always has an impact on his play. he must not train hard or properly. he is always slow and getting injuries he can avoid.

    • Making character assumptions based on current form is a mistake. The US team has always been amongst the fittest national teams, with coaches that hold their players accountable, and Jozy has a boatload of caps. Beyond that, no one on the outside knows anything more.

    • Have you ever played through and injury? I was played with and injury last night for god’s sakes and I couldn’t make all the runs or plays I wanted to make, and couldn’t track back as well like I want to do. When he’s at 100% then let’s judge him fully. Great move by Klinsmann.

  10. Good moves…

    Jozy is obviously not fit, Morales looked lost.

    Would love to see Kitchen and Agudelo get called in.

      • +1,000,000.

        If you got offered millions more $$, you’d take it. Let me say that again, millions. I’m still paying back my $40,000 student debt for the love of god, and I was living in section 8 housing for 2 years with heroin busts every month (literally) just to save money and pay it off. I sure would like 6 more million $ right now. Money makes the world go round, as sad as it is.

  11. I’ve never been impressed with Morales since he played with us. Seems to play for himself by doing some flashy move and then loses possession afterwards. This is especially evident when you lose the ball in your own half of the field. It’s effective when you are in the opposition’s box to be unpredictable, but in the middle or own half of the field, it is stupid decision making

    Jozy better watch out for his spot; it’s not guaranteed like the earlier Donovan era. You got
    upcoming guys like Bjørn Maars Johnsen, who seems to be a clone of Ibrahimovic with
    technical ball skills, power and height, and dude is only 23.

    • Yo that kid is beast, was wondering if anyone else knew about him. We really need to try and get him into the NT setup. Big, technical,fast and a nose for goal. What’s the hold up. He’s never played internationally for either usa or Norway and was born here so no need to look for father or one time switch ect. If you guys aren’t aware of him you should really look him up on YouTube and big soccer had an article about him a long time ago. Best young uncapped forward out there.

    • My word! This guy looks good with the ball. Thanks for pointing him out. I now have a new player to hope gets a call up.

    • cap him!

      there is a good size pool of young strikers that should be gunning for Jozy’s spot; Maki Tall, Kieswetter, Johnson, Yamba, Jamieson, Novakovich, Rubin.. list goes if 1 or 2 of them pan out Jozy might be hard for Jozy to stick around past 100 caps.

      He has always been streaky; really good or really bad – so I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes crazy again in qualifying but its never to early to start looking at better long term options.

      • He hasn’t been at fault for a goal, but he could have prevented one yesterday. In yesterday’s game he should have seen Blaz Perez coming, and he should have moved into his path. Blaz Perez should never just be watched; he needs to be reckoned with. If Timmy Chandler didn’t know that he needs to go back to soccer school.

      • John Brooks is a quality player and is gonna be great for us, but he should have been more aware of Perez there. Expecting Chandler to babysit Brooks’ mark is pretty absurd, especially when he has his own attacker to deal with on the back post.

  12. Based on the provisional roster, I would guess Shea, Besler, Beasley are the only choices worth adding. Would love to see Morris, we need pace up front badly, but he is injured.

    • Beasley is retired form USMNT and Klinsmann should let him stay retired. Shea is injured the Orlando coach said he was being shut down for like 3 weeks at the end of June…

      I see Besler, Corona and probably Agudelo come in. I’m guessing Kitchen too and wouldn’t surprise me to see Perry Kitchen.

      • Beasley is on the provisional roster and said he would play if we need him. I’m starting to think we need him. If we play him at left back, we can then move F. Johnson over to right back. Garza and Evans the backups.

      • Not really meant as a dis to Chandler, who has been better offensively than he gets credit for. But he has gotten beat repeatedly down his flank and has seemed out of sync with the midfielder in front of him. Johnson is not a great defender either, but he has been at least adequate, while offering a dynamic threat going forward. I like JK idea of attacking fullbacks, but that position still requires some sound defending, which we haven’t gotten from Chandler.

      • Chandler’s lunging slide tackle at midfield that missed against Panama? Which sent the winger on a wide open run down the flank? That was the kind of thing 14 year olds are trained not to do. Surprisingly awful moment from someone supposed be playing at the top level.

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