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Jozy Altidore takes step in right direction with game-winning USMNT showing

Jozy Altidore Gyasi Zardes USMNT 75

photo by Brad Mills/USA Today Sports


WASHINGTON — It was not a perfect performance, but it was a strong step in the right direction and good response to an early CONCACAF Gold Cup exit.

Jozy Altidore reminded U.S. Men’s National Team fans what he is capable of, as he scored twice to help the Americans topple Peru, 2-1, at RFK Stadium on Friday night. Altidore, like the U.S. as a whole, struggled in the first half, but responded with a much stronger second stanza that saw him earn a penalty kick, score on a rebound, and be in the right place at the right time to find the winner.

Altidore’s game-winning performance came in a week in which U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave positive reviews about how the 25-year-old forward was training, and in his first international game since seeing his Gold Cup campaign cut short because of struggles.

It also happened with Altidore serving as the U.S. captain, something which may have helped spur him on against the Peruvians.

“When he has that honor and has that privilege to be the captain, he is full of pride,” said Klinsmann, who cited Altidore’s caps as the reason for giving the veteran the armband. “It gives him something special. He’s proud of that moment. He’s coming from a little bit of a rough time at the Gold Cup and now getting back into rhythm with Toronto and coming off the bench here and there.

“The hope was that he could really enjoy it, and we’ll see how long that goes.”

U.S. fans might want to see Altidore be the captain again on Tuesday against Brazil, because it does appear to help inspire him a little more.

“It’s amazing,” said Altidore. “It’s so special to represent a country like ours and to do that at this stage, the highest level, it’s an incredible feeling. Every time I get to do it, it’s a memorable one for me and I never forget each time that I’ve worn it.”

Altidore might remember this match, but likely not because of his or the Americans’ first-half showing. Peru was the better team during the opening 45 minutes, winning the possession battle and using its flair and technical abilities to cause the U.S. plenty of trouble.

On the few occasions that Klinsmann’s side did have the ball, it was left midfielder Gyasi Zardes who looked the most threatening. Altidore was nowhere near as menacing, but the tide started to shift late in the first half when the Americans began to find an attacking rhythm.

Altidore even forced Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese into a good save at the near post in the 42nd minute. It was a sign of things to come.

After halftime, the U.S. was much more lively and better with the ball, which allowed Altidore to better make use of his skills. He used his body well on several plays in the second half, including on the one in the 58th minute in which he flicked the ball over to himself before getting tripped up by centerback Carlos Zambrano.

Altidore had the ensuing spot kick blocked, but slotted the rebound home. He then helped set up his winner with a great through pass over the top to a darting DeAndre Yedlin. The ball eventually reached Zardes, who whipped in a cross that took a kind deflection before Altidore pushed it home for his 29th international goal.

“We’re surprised that he went all the way through (the game) because I timed it and wanted to have Aron (Johannsson) come on for Jozy, but he was good,” said Klinsmann. “That’s a real good sign. It’s just great to have him back.”

Added midfielder Jermaine Jones: “People look always and say, ‘Okay, the striker he scored two goals, he was the Man of the Match.’ Then, sometimes it’s like he maybe don’t score and people say, ‘Oh, today he’s not good.’

“I know him now for a while and I know that he’s always trying every game his best, and people have to understand to not only try to push him in something when he not scores. This is why I’m happy he scored.”

For Altidore, the key is to now carry the momentum from this game over into a stiffer test vs. Brazil on Tuesday. Altidore will surely lead the front line again in that match, and another strong showing there should see him cement a starting spot at a position that Klinsmann had alluded to as being somewhat open at the start of this camp.

Barring injury, that would see him in the lineup for October’s CONCACAF Cup clash with Mexico, a game he is eagerly looking forward to.

“Hopefully, it would be nice,” said Altidore.” I haven’t gotten a chance to play in a lot of big games against Mexico, unfortunately for whatever reason, so hopefully I can get out there if I’m fit and the manager picks me. I hope I can help be the difference.”

As Friday night showed, Altidore is still plenty capable of being just that.


  1. Not only did Jozy have two goals but he should have had an assist on a wonderful flick to Brooks who shanked his shot similar to Wondo against Belgium.

  2. Flop or no flop, Altidore is very good at drawing fouls in the penalty area. I always think of basketball when I see that kind of thing. A. arranges that his feet get tripped up.

  3. @AMPhibian haha, what bias? That I think Altidore played a bad game? That has nothing to do with bias. As strong as Altidore is, he flops more than any other player. “Bias” is becoming a pop word on this site. Look up the meaning and realize that not every opinion is based in bias.

    • Learn how to use the comment system, please.

      Your bias lies in being too prejudicial to see the obvious. It was clear in the multiple replays that Jozy did in fact receive contact and earn that penalty.

      Regardless, I’m struggling to understand why you need to bash the dude that scored two goals yesterday. Does he really bother you that much? Don’t you know he works really hard to represent, and is actually one of our best players now and has been for awhile?

      • Amphibian, Don’t bother to waste your breath. Most haters on this blog must have unhappy lives that they used this platform to vent their life frustration, anger and hatred towards some unlucky soccer players they choose to pick on no matter how they perform on the pitch. They are trash to their eyes!

    • At the last Copa Amercia there was more flopping than a boatful of live fish. The US does not dive nearly as much as many other teams. If you don’t realize that, you don’t watch much international football.

  4. I completely agree @Rickster. This is incredibly frustrating. Altidore is laborious to watch. Apart from a nifty flick and a poacher’s goal, his off-the-ball movement was poor, his hold-up play was poor, and his passing at times was dreadful.

    Most importantly, why has nobody mentioned the fact that the penalty he “earned” was an obvious dive? On the replays, i didn’t see any contact. He took a bad touch, saw he was about to lose the ball, then just went down.

      • Jozy didn’t dive but Jozy pushed off the defender, defender falls, as he was falling his legs tangled with Jozy’s. Penalty called, as the captain he takes it and it wasn’t a good shot, fortunately for him the rebound came right back at him and he taps it in. In the second score he plays the ball to Yedlin, it was too hard of a pass but Yedlin got to it anyway and gave it back to Jozy, Jozy was beat to the spot by a defender, the ball gets kicked across the 19, Zardes takes a crack at goal gets partially blocked, ball gets to Jozy at the 6 and he taps it in. Jozy scored a brace, did he have a good game? I don’t think so. Jozy did looked more livelier than previous games.

  5. Even Brazil doesn’t do that. David Luiz, Kaka, Oscar, Julio Cesar, Lucas Lima…

    Regardless, how do you explain every other top 10 team?

      • Keep starting your spearchukers and see where it gets you. There’s a reason why African nations never compete for the world cup.

      • SBI, I have never said/written this before here, but this racist crap should be removed. Given that FIFA makes a big point of Say No To Racism, this shouldn’t be allowed here. And the people with the email associated with these comments shouldn’t be allowed to post.

    • I know you are a troll and you are posting under this name and unga bunga and mas mas, but do know that David Luiz is mixed and part black, right? You do know that most Brazilian teams are mostly mixed/non-white. You also forgot the South Korean semi-final team of ’02, which started no white players.

  6. No successful national team in the word starts two white players

    2002 US World Cup Team = 9 white starters and 2 blacks

    You can say its racist all you want but you know I’m right

    • Not to respond to an obvious moron troll, but the idea that hispanic soccer players are “white” is the stupidest thing I have read here in a while. Congrats.

    • It is racist, and has nothing to do with this article. I would try to explain genetics to you, and the fallacy of the term “white”, but I’m positive I would be wasting my breath. I hope you get blocked.

    • Well Germany didn’t start exactly two when they won the World Cup, so I guess the troll is right.

      This may have been the dumbest post in the history of SBI.

    • You worded this so poorly I’m not even sure of your meaning except that it sounds incredibly stupid. Most world championship soccer teams have a mixture. Spain and Germany are mostly white, Brazil are a mix with maybe two thirds black. Italy is mostly all white. Those teams right there account for three quarters, at least, of all the World Cup champions. Additionally, if you talk to biologists and anthropologists who study the issue of race (I had a roommate who was an anthropologist) they will tell you that there are more differences within a racial group than between them. Also, with so much intermixing the last hundred years, the distinction of race is close to meaningless.


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