USMNT Daily Update: Altidore snub a gamble that could pay long-term dividends, or blow up in Klinsmann’s face

KlinsmannAltidore (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com 

By IVES GALARCEP

Jurgen Klinsmann made sure to offer up as thorough an explanation as possible on Monday for his decision to leave Jozy Altidore off the U.S. national team roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.He pointed to national team form, and cited tactical reasons for wanting to look at new players. The explanations still rang a bit hollow though because while you can't argue with the notion that Altidore's U.S. national team form has been largely disappointing, it is extremely tough to deny that, based on recent club form, Altidore is one of the best players in the national team pool.

So why would Klinsmann leave off a player enjoying the best run of form of his professional career, a player currently scoring goals at a higher rate than anybody save for MLS MVP favorite Chris Wondolowski? Klinsmann made it clear he was unhappy with Altidore's effort, both in games and in training, an admission that reveals the Altidore snub to be about something other than fielding the best possible team for the crucial qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.

Klinsmann is sending a message, not just to Altidore, but to the entire U.S. player pool, that no job is safe, and that if you don't play well enough you can lose your spot. As admirable a stance as that is to take, the timing of it, with the national team's World Cup qualifying hopes on the line, feels very much like a risky gamble.

It is clear that Klinsmann has grown frustrated with Altidore's ineffectiveness during his coaching tenure, and his decision to snub Altidore revealed just how much, but for that decision to come on the heels of what has arguably been Altidore's best run of club form ever leaves you scratching your head.

Club form doesn't guarantee you national team success. We have seen that many times before, but Altidore is clearly playing with confidence for AZ Alkmaar, and scoring some beautiful goals that lead you to believe he is really improving as a player. That run of form did little to erase Klinsmann's memory of what he considered subpar games and training sessions from Altidore during his recent national team stints. Klinsmann's public opinion of the Dutch League (he essentially called it an easy league to score in during a recent ESPN interview) must not have helped his evaluation process either.

No, instead of calling in one of the leading scorers in Europe, Klinsmann chose to call in Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson, two players enjoying outstanding seasons in MLS and two players Klinsmann believes to be better suited to matching up against the expected bunkering defenses of Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.

It seems like a reasonable enough thought process except for the fact that a significant part of the reason for Altidore's struggles has been the lack of service provided him by the U.S. attack in his recent appearances. It isn't as if perfect crosses and through passes are being delivered Altidore's way with regularity, and it isn't as if he is squandering clear-cut chances.

it is tough to believe that Klinsmann's decision to leave Altidore out is really about tactics, and not about wanting to send Altidore a wake-up call Klinsmann feels he needs, even if it means not calling in the strongest possible team.

That is what makes Klinsmann's decision a gamble, and the fact the U.S. has yet to secure its place in the next round of World Cup qualifying makes it a risky gamble. If things get weird in the upcoming matches, and the U.S. find themselves needing a goal, and one of Klinsmann's reclamation projects winds up wasting a chance that costs the United States the World Cup, Klinsmann will be toast, as will the U.S> national team.

You have to give Klinsmann credit though. While he may be gambling, he also knows the odds are considerably in his favor. He knows that the United States should be able to secure the necessary points to qualify, and the roster he has called in is still more than good enough to beat Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. He knows Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez are his leading forward options, which means he would have very likely used Altidore off the bench. Johnson is playing well enough right now to be a servicable option in that sort of role, so from a practical standpoint Altidore's absence shouldn't make a big difference.

So why take the chance? Consider it a long-term strategic bet. It is Klinsmann's best chance to send a unmistakable message to Altidore to light a fire under him heading into the final round of World Cup qualifying in 2013. We have seen Gertjen Verbeek get the most out of Altidore with the help of some tough love so maybe Klinsmann see this as his opportunity to crack the whip and hopefully unleash the version of Altidore that also scores national team goals in bunches. Klinsman needs that Altidore to emerge in 2013 because the final round of World Cup qualifying isn't going to be easy.

If things go according to plan, the U.S. will advance in World Cup qualifying and Klinsmann will score major points for his roster decisions even though, in the grand scheme of things, the United States shouldn't have had any trouble with Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala either way. Klinsmann will receive the bulk of the credit for a successful finish to this round of qualifying and, will not only head into the Hexagonal round of qualifying in stronger standing, he will also have the attention of a player pool that will have gotten the message that nobody's job is safe.

And if he's lucky, he may even find himself fielding a more motivated Jozy Altidore in 2013, a player that no coach in their right mind would consider leaving off a roster.

All of these things make it a worthwhile gamble for Klinsmann. That's IF things go according to plan.

If things go badly, and if the Americans have more trouble with these last two qualifiers than they should, or even fail to qualify, and players like Gordon and Johnson fail to step up when called upon, Klinsmann will have plenty to answer for, and one of the first questions he will be asked was whether leaving out Jozy Altidore was a mistake.

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138 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: Altidore snub a gamble that could pay long-term dividends, or blow up in Klinsmann’s face

  1. yikes says:

    this is a really HUGE news story

  2. omg says:

    what if the manager of Holland refused to call up RvP, it’d be insane

  3. M says:

    This is more about Jozy’s use of tweeter than play. Go to US soccer and you will see that Jozy only played in a few games this year and many times was used as a 60-80 minute sub.

    Take out the Scotland friendly which Scotland basically mailed in and the US has only scored more than 1 goal in any match and that was against Antiqua Barbuda. The offense has been dismal in lieu of his play

  4. James says:

    As for the possibility that Jurgen is fired; can someone please tell me a major fundamental change to the youth system that Bradley implemented in all his years here? Anything? How about Arena?
    Yet in only over a year, Klinsmann has come in and asked the tough question of the USSF/MLS/College and made waves with his changes (just look at the outcry of the Academy vs. high School decision). With this coach, atleast we can say he has a vision for the long term and doesnt come in, coach, and go home happy with the status quo like Bradley did.

  5. Jake says:

    I don’t get it. Calling Jozy in, reaming him out and then leaving him on the bench could have sent the same message and still given Jozy/the team an option if the game opened up to need someone like him.

  6. matt says:

    So make him the US Technical Director and find someone who can manage a single team. I’m not saying Klinnsman deserves to be or will be fired, but the fact is his primary job is to win now, not win in 15 years. The fact that he is doing more for the US developmental system than his predecessors doesn’t make him a better coach than either of them, and doesn’t mean he necessarily deserves the coaching job. Not saying he’s a bad coach, just that your point doesn’t justify keeping him around if qualifying doesn’t go smoothly.

  7. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Nice quote from another blog:

    “Every day he’s getting a little bit better. You can see that in every training session. We help him, help him, and we work on it. He’s working hard. He’s positive about it.” – Klinsmann, June 2012

    But now he’s lazy, disappointing, etc. Klinsmann says whatever he wants to justify his whims.

  8. john says:

    “In lieu of his play”? Please understand a word before trying to impress others with your vocabulary.

  9. dcm says:

    I admit it Ives, I was wanting to choke Klinsmann for a couple days now. Thanks for writing a level headed article and helping me calm down.

    Just seems that this coach is contradicting himself a lot lately. And I still don’t understand how it’s too late to incorporate more young players into the team.

  10. Tony in Quakeland says:

    +++++ 1

    Exactly.

    If it was really his National team form that’s driving this, what’s Beckerman doing on the team?

  11. dcm says:

    Yet, it’s “too late” to incorporate these young players into out team for world cup qualifying? Ridiculous.

  12. louis z says:

    here is my take in these last 2 games:

    A&B mathematically are not out yet, they need to win both games by a large margin and get some help from other results. why would they play bunker ball?

    Guatemala may or may not play bunker ball depending how they do against Jamaica. If they tied or lost you can bet they will throw caution in to the wind against us since Jamaica has an easier game vs A&B.

    JK starting 11 should do it, the issue I see is if he has to go to his bench for scoring, there is a big ? mark.

  13. JRP says:

    Difference is he scores goals for Holland.

  14. Ben says:

    Altidore’s tweet is just a symptom of his bad attitude, which has probably manifested itself in a lot of ways. Team chemistry is extremely important to winning, so I don’t think JK believes this move reduces his chances of winning. I respect the decision and wouldn’t be sorry to see it repeated in the future.

  15. Johnny says:

    No it’s not. Josy’s a diva, hasn’t played well at the international level, and JK made a coaching decision. We’ll win both games, qualify, and all will be forgotten.

    The real HUGE news story is Beckerman’s continual call up to the NATS. Can anyone explain for me please?

  16. Ryan Nanez says:

    altidore has been benched by every coach for the same reason. i dont particularly care. every american soccer analyst commentator etc lovesss to hype s*** up.

  17. JRP says:

    Coaches have the right to call their own team. Jozy needs to grow up. And I think the coach is great for having the guts to put Jozy in his place.
    If one of my employees did something like that I would fire them without blinking an eye. It is unprofessional.
    This could backfire on the coach but let’s wait to grab our pitchforks until after the results are in.
    It’s not like he was having an influence on the games anyway. And for all we know he was a negative influence on the rest of the team at camp.

  18. JRP says:

    No kidding.
    Plus, bottom line is it is not our call. He is the coach. His call.

  19. al17 says:

    WHAT??? Ok, why don’t we seek to find out their roles within those programs before you start making the comparison. What we do know in JK’s short spell and his influence on the “youth” programs is that we didn’t qualify for the ‘Lympics and last I checked our Youth sides haven’t exactly lit up anyone during this spell. Correct if I’m wrong here since I’m speaking off the cuff and just don’t recall the youth teams standing out on the Men’s side, unlike the women’s programs that seem to be flourishing. Having said that, this doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the current situation. He was brought in to manage the Men’s Senior Nats. So far, we know that he’s AWESOME at dispensing information to the media and good at not taking the blame.

    The question that should be asked is why has he not figured out how to get similar results from Jozy when he plays with the Nats. I’ve wondered for quite some time whether or not he actually watches his matches with AZ. How he’s used there and what he’s done to score goals for them isn’t a hard one to figure out.

    He needs to stop with the “sending messages”. We saw how this worked out for us against Jamaica in Kingston when he didn’t play Bocanegra. Crying out loud what message is he sending by not playing (fill blank) against Antigua & Barbuda? That I’ll keep you from playing in the sand and a few days of Scuba? PLEASE I truly wish he would shut up and coach the Nats.

  20. Freegle says:

    Strange player selection decisions, questionable tactics, mediocre to poor results. The only thing that has changed is the volume and frequency of the chatter coming out of the coaches mouth. Personally, I’d rather be ignored and hear silence than have someone telling me lies all the time.

    My big complaint about Bradley was that I always felt like he was over his head and I didn’t trust many of his decisions. What’s more, he rarely gave explanations to change my mind. With Klinsmann, I don’t trust him either and he keeps contradicting himself and making it worse.

    What’t the old saying?… It’s beter to remain silent and have everyone think you’re and idiot than to open your moth and remove all doubt.

    I’m going to change my allegiance to Egypt.

  21. jb says:

    LOL! Ridiculous comparison. Jozy has not started for over a year, and likely would have seen only a few minutes anyway. Like Ives said, the other forwards are fine for that role. The last time Jozy came in as a sub was in Columbus, and a more putrid and lazy performance I’ve never seen.

  22. JRP says:

    And Beckerman won’t likely be getting a lot of minutes. But I can imagine he is at camp to provide leadership and unifying strength. Guy is top notch class. He isn’t the most talented guy but he is obviously around for a reason. Jozy is home for a reason. Someone FEDEX him a box of tissues.

  23. jb says:

    Excellent post.

  24. Shawn says:

    The part here is that JK 1) Doesn’t need Jozy and 2) was put to a choice because of his play.

    The starter is Gomez. Jozy should have beat him out by now, but he hasn’t.

    Then its about depth. JK believes he will probably need an aerial threat at some point to beat a bunker. he doesn’t have a “go to” guy for that tactical role.

    He would like to then have competition and choices. Jozy complicates that as he isn’t that aerial threat. So now JK had to choose between keeping a guy with lots of talent that hasn’t been good enough to start or choose his tactical options.

    He went with his tactical options… as Jozy wasn’t likely to play much anyway.

  25. go usa says:

    Klinsmann does not give a SH!T about US soccer. So why not gamble. Damn Kraut

  26. asdfl asdf says:

    Klinsmann is being ABSOLUTELY consistent with Jozy.

    He’s out for the same reason Torres and Orozco Fiscal are out – they didn’t show enough progress after multiple call-ups (not just games but training etc…)

    Klinsmann has said he wants fighters who give EVERYTHING for the shirt – and in that mold Hurcules Gomez will get picked over Dempsey because he has that hunger to score goals and improve.

    Good for Jozy if he was improving “little by little” as Klinsmann is quoted – that’s great for his club team – but not enough for the USMNT.

    Fast forward to this weekend – and you see guys like Johnson and Gordon getting their shot – both are hungry to make it – to battle – and both fit the tactical bill too. At worse they match Jozy’s performance – at best you try something new and one of them rises to the challenge.

    Obviously Jozy hasn’t after numerous opportunities – so what’s a coach to do? Coddle him?

    Last thing to keep in mind – this may have also played well within the team. If Jozy isn’t getting great passes – maybe that says something in how confident the team is in Jozy making the right play when he gets the ball. There is a reason guys like Donovan, Dempsey, McBride, etc. got the ball a lot – their teammates trusted them.

    Perhaps Jurgen’s verdit right now on Jozy is indirectly a team decision too.

  27. Creige says:

    Beckerman has been just as good as Jones or Edu. I would drop two of the three and bring in a true creative midfielder like Adu and Feilhaber who can actually create chances and then I’m sure Jozy would be scoring.

  28. JoKr says:

    It appears as though I won’t be able to watch Friday night’s game? beIN TV are you serious?? Are there any on line streams?

  29. kimo says:

    “Strange player selection decisions, questionable tactics, mediocre to poor results.”

    Agreed 100%. I think JK is a fantastic big picture thinker in terms of what he’s looking for … how to develop talent at a young age and through the age levels. However, the minute details of coaching seem over his head. Make no mistake, Low has been and was the technical mastermind behind Germany even when JK was at the helm.

  30. Dillon says:

    Klinsmann once said that club form was the most important thing to when choosing players. He was clearly lying.

  31. Joe B NYC says:

    It illustrates the reason why most people are questioning him dumping Jozy. Jozy has issues but but calling him a diva is a stretch to say the least. If Klinsy feels that players should understand that their form (for club and national team) is important, then why call people (like Beckerman– whom I like) to camp? Jozy hasn’t scored for the US in a year, that’s good reason enough to drop him. All this ‘attitude’ talk is on people who have personal issues with him. Beckerman’s form has been incosistent (for The US) for a year now, but he get called. Klestijan’s been solid for his club for the past 2 years, he’s just getting called now… I knew Klinsmann would shake stuff up but geez….

  32. jb says:

    Klinsman was hired to make player selections and tactics, things that are very subjective until the final goal (World Cup/qualification) is achieved. Or not. As for results, first win over Italy in Italy and first win over Mexico in Azteca isn’t mediocre or poor.

    I was born in the USA, bleed red white and blue and will die an American. Go to Egypt if you want.

  33. JRP says:

    Wow. Classy. Can someone delete this ignorant post?

  34. JRP says:

    I once said my favorite vacation spot was MT. Then I went to Hawaii. I changed my mind. I like Hawaii now. Was I lying?

  35. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    +1

    The overhaul of the US youth corps was underway when Klinsmann started. Reyna was already in place and had already issued the ‘plan’.

    Revisionist History is taking hold I suppose.

    It’s amazing to me that Bradley is still being blamed by some after more than a year away from the team.

  36. Joe B NYC says:

    And our U-20 team didn’t qualify for Their world Cup…

  37. al17 says:

    JRP,
    why did it take him so long to call up Sacha if he wasn’t lying? Sacha has been producing for his club for the past few years. I’m calling him a liar on it. I think he had/has a personal beef with Sacha but that’s just me guessing since there’s no other reason I can come up with as to why he would have not called him up.

  38. Old School says:

    So, for the record: Is JK a “Jozy hater” now?

    Otherwise, JK’s statement, opinion and view of Jozy reflects what some of our level headed posters that have been called “haters” for simply keeping it real.

    How’s that crow taste?

    I truly wonder how this article compares to the puff-piece that was written about Jozy just a few weeks ago. Both in comments by fellow posters and commentary by Ives.

    Again, are we haters now? Is JK also a hater? Could it be some of those drinking koolaid are finally waking up from the love-coma you’ve been in and are finally beginning to view what we’ve been saying for quite awhile?

    Jozy is young and needs to learn playing for your country at this level isn’t a right, it’s a privilege.

  39. le coq says:

    This tough love has been a long time coming for Jozy. Bob Bradley could not/would not do it because the he didn’t have the strikers in the pool to do it. Jozy, by default was a starter.

  40. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    You also have to include the poor results. First loss to Jamaica ever. Losses to a poor Costa Rica & Ecuador team on home soil. Your hat handed to you at home vs a U-23 Brazil team. A putrid performance against Canada.

    The historic wins vs Mexico & Italy were won with ‘bunker ball’, a ‘style’ we were promised would change, and a curious choice of strategy given these were friendlies and we were told “results were not important”.

    Also Go USA, won’t stop cheering for them…but I’m really really tired of the lack of cohesion on this team. If we trot out the ‘double-bucket’ again….I might have to watch a Young and the Restless re-run.

  41. downintexas says:

    Hmm Lets see James, the u-23 teams made it to the olympics under Arena and Bradley, not with Klinsman. Plus we did not qualify our u-20 team to the WC. That my friend is a step back.

    Also I’d be happy with the Bradely status quo right now. We would already have qualified for the Hex. Beat Spain and score 2 goals against Brazil in a FIFA competition (not friendly) and win our group in the WC. Man I miss hum ho average Bob.

  42. OPMG says:

    Uh…Klinsi has already been leaving Jozy on the bench. Your solution looks very similar to what the entire country has been seeing the last 6 months. At some point a stronger message needs to be sent.

  43. biff says:

    According to some news articles, Jose Torres was left off the roster because of a foot injury.

  44. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    “Klinsmann has said he wants fighters who give EVERYTHING for the shirt ”
    If true….why would he put in calls to Chandler?

  45. Joe shmoe says:

    go ahead sucker

  46. downintexas says:

    +1 I don’t have too much beef with leaving Jozy out, but I find JK as a coach simple minded and hypocritical.

  47. biff says:

    I don’t believe Klinsmann took this action as a wake-up call for Jozy and I don’t think it is risky decision. I think it would have been more of a risk to have a disgruntled Jozy who publicly bad-mouthed the coach in camp. No coach wants that in the locker room with the potential of upsetting team chemistry and actually hurt chances of posting two wins. After Jozy’s Tweet, I don’t think Klinsmann had any other choice but to leave Jozy off the roster.

    All that said, this will no doubt be a learning experience for Jozy and at some point he probably will be able to win Klinsmann’s trust again and get a call up. But if I were Jozy, I would be a bit nervous right now about what kinds of performances Klinsmann gets out of Herc and Eddie Johnnson these next two games. Because if they do well it might be awhile before Jozy gets another shot at winning his old job back.

  48. What are you talking about? Jozy started on September 7 against Jamaica. And the 10-minute performance in Columbus was enough to for you to determine it was lazy and putrid? Be serious. If you have a bias, that’s fine. But admit to it upfront without making up facts and pretending there is substance to your argument.

  49. Joe B NYC says:

    OK Thank You!!!!

  50. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I have always liked and supported Jozy, and that hasn’t changed. But the fact is he hasn’t played well for the national team in quite some time. And it isn’t about not scoring goals because he hasn’t had service; other strikers (Gomez, Dempsey, Boyd in stretches) have played well recently. For whatever reason, and I won’t speculate, Jozy has played poorly for the US lately. For that reason, I don’t think it’s such a big deal that he hasn’t been called up.

    I don’t agree with JK, mind you. Jozy is our most talented pure striker, and should be in every camp if he is healthy. But even if he was called in, he’d most likely be a sub playing garbage minutes. It’s not as big of a snub as it appears to be.

  51. JK had, literally, nothing to do with the concept or implementation of the USSDA. It was conceived and implemented long before he arrived here.

    And, for the record, you greatly underestimate the things that Bob Bradley did here. To date, Klinsmann hasn’t come close to approaching the level of success in the US that Bradley did.

  52. The squad says:

    Contradictions?

    Personally, I think JK has done exactly what bhe said he would,

    Challenge guys to compete at a high level.

    A level enjoyed by the Dutch ( ironically) the French and others.

    Benching Altidore is not that big a deal.

    He an many other “starters” layed an egg in both games against Jamaica.

    Is Michael Bradley that infuencial?

    The team needs to get its act together point blank.

    If JK does not make decisions liek this then he’s gone. simple as that.

    I think a lot of folks continue to underestimate Bob Bradley from a results standpoint (and Bruce Arena for that matter)

    JK has to create a winner, this decision along with a host of others is just a reflection of his ‘stamp’ on the team.

    Win Games. point blank

  53. Ben says:

    Ives, you need to change the last clause of that monster first paragraph/sentence. “it is extremely difficult to argue that he still remains one of the national team pool’s best forwards” suggests the opposite of what I supposed you wanted it to mean.

  54. Aquaman says:

    “If things get weird…” made me think of “I’m looking for a very specific type of weird. I’m looking for niche weird”

  55. TerkyJerky says:

    It was putrid and lazy when what we expect from our players is for them to run around like headless chickens. At least then they are hustling and not lazy.

  56. Liga says:

    3 different coaches have benched Jozy to “send a message.” One of those coaches has now done it 3 times.

    Freddy Adu gets crushed around here for attitude problems, and he actually produces for country when given the chance.

    The double standard is staggering.

  57. Todd Marsch says:

    I was thinking along these lines, too. Klinsmann is betting that these two games are going to be dogfights, and he wants guys out there who he knows are going to battle and scrap for every last ball and do anything it takes to get the result.

    I just don’t think he’s confident that Jozy is one of those guys. As fans, we’ve seen Jozy come up big in big games in the past(e.g. Spain in the Confed Cup), but this hasn’t happened on Klinsmann’s watch, so he prefers guys like Gomez and Gordon (at least for the time being). It’s obviously still a big gamble, but I don’t think Klinsmann is completely crazy here.

  58. Brian S. says:

    The more I think about JK’s comments the more I think it’s a cover up. If he is citing Jozy’s performance against Jamiaca as a reason then shouldn’t the majority of the team from that game have not been called up. My opinion is that this is a huge mistake and I hope doesn’t come back to haunt us. I’m really starting to get tired of JK’s hypocritical ways. He says you need to be playing consistently and then calls up people that are riding the bench. He says you need to be performing for your club and then he leaves the ones that are performing at home.

  59. Johnny says:

    I’ve been a huge believer in pulling back both Benny and Adu into the USMNT mix. Not sure why JK doesn’t see it that way.

    I disagree that Beckerman is on par the Jones or Edu. Though I’m not huge fans of either, Jones plays well at times, and I like Edu’s athleticism in the back. He gives away the ball far too much when he plays in the midfield.

    If I was the coach for WC 2014, my starting 11 would be:
    Dempsey–Gomez
    Donovan–Bradley–Feilhaber–Adu
    Johnson–Edu–Cameron–Chandler
    Howard

  60. DCP says:

    Are you the definition of a level headed poster? I don’t think a “level headed poster” would provide such an emotional outburst, or tell others to eat crow because their opinions don’t agree with their own.

    I think Ive’s article provides a level-headed assessment of this situation. Jozy’s omission is somewhat surprising but not necessarily unwarranted, it could be useful to send a message to him and potentially others, but it could also backfire in the highly unlikely event that the U.S. doesn’t get out of this round of qualification.

  61. jb says:

    Fair points, though I would disagree that the Italy and Mexico wins were ‘bunkerball’. We had similar amount of possession against Italy, and against Mexico, with a B team, we defended with enough organization to completely fluster them in their own stadium. And if you want cohesion, you have to respect the man who was hired to make these decisions and give him the full cycle to figure it out. If it doesnt work out, I’ll be all for a change. Hope we can keep you away from the soaps.

  62. skyman says:

    Good post. We all love to be the armchair coach, and if I may: When choosing between Jozy and Gomez, it’s a no brainier. Gomez puts it all out there, sacrifices his body, is aggressive towards the goal, does well checking back, and hustles more than anyone on the field. In fact, he’s one of my favorite players to ever wear the Nats jersey for all the reasons I stated, PLUS, his story is compelling. Jozy, quite simply, hasn’t performed well at all over the last 14 months for the US, just like Klinnsman says. He is a fine player, but I think Klinsmann knows what he’s doing, and what it takes to for Jozy to take his play to the next level – just look at Jurgen’s playing career.
    Hopefully Jozy will not let this bother him too much long term, and honestly I’m excited to see EJ play again – he’s much better than he was in the past.

  63. Brian S. says:

    I completely agree. As I stated below, he has been a hypocrite about the players he calls up. I have not been impressed with him yet and I’m starting to lose faith that he is the coach to lead us to the next level

  64. By reman says:

    I live in the Dominican republic. And I always watch the games on first row sports dot eu. I hope this helps

  65. skyman says:

    Absolutely! I’m so pissed off that we can’t watch out national team play, without having to subscribe to cable or dish. Please someone post where we can stream this

  66. ex_sweeper says:

    Yeah, but watching on first row sports is like playing russian roulette with your computer. Some links are fine while others try to download a trojan or open porn sites. I hate that BeIn is only on the Comcast premium digital package.

  67. THomas says:

    I’m looking beyond the obvious snub of Altidore. I don’t think this is just JK not calling in one player. I think this is part of his overall plan to shift the way the US team operates and Jozy happened to be the right player at the right time to make an example of.

    Yes, JKs immediate goal is to make it to WC 2014, but the more important goal is to change the culture surrounding the US National team. That doesn’t happen overnight, or in one cycle, or by not calling in one player. It takes time and has to start somewhere.

    Your club form and playing time will get you noticed and may get you the call up, but once they are in camp players have to be held accountable for their performance with the National Team both during games and in training.

  68. away goals says:

    “All of these things make it a worthwhile gamble for Klinsmann. That’s IF things go according to plan.”

    No equivocating, Ives. It’s either a worthwhile gamble or it’s not. You don’t judge the merit of a gamble after the fact.

    The risks and rewards are known. Make a call.

  69. Eric says:

    I’m seeing a lot of talk about how it’s contradictory how Klinsmann has said he wants people to be in good club form and then snubs Jozy. Personally, I don’t think it is.

    Klinsmann hasn’t said that club form is the ONLY criteria for his selection process, just that it’s one of the major factors. In fact, I’d argue that it’d be worse if club form was the only selection criteria because then you could make the arguement that Dempsey shouldn’t have been called in last set of rounds and same with Bradley this time (Just coming back). Same with Danny Williams, who wasn’t playing before the last set of call ups, and he turned in a brilliant performance against Jamaica.

    Klinsmann is looking at numerous things, including club form, but also chemistry, tactics, versatility and fitness too. He’s selected the players he thinks that give him the best chance to win both games with the tactics he sees as the most effective. You can easily have an arguement over whether or not his tactics are valid and that’s absolutely fair. However, personally I don’t think it’s right to call him hypocritical on this. We all make exceptions to our criteria when it comes to selections and JK is no different. The fact is that there are always going to be people upset or disappointed with who is or isn’t called up.

    In the end, all that matters is getting the results. If the US loses then JK’s head can be called for based on the results, but if we end up winning both games then I have a feeling this will just fade away for the time being.

  70. Casey says:

    Cover up for what?

  71. Kevin_Amold says:

    ha

  72. Andrew H. says:

    This decision illustrates to me why firing Bradley and hiring Klinsmann was the right one. It is also why Ives is a reporter and an opinion maker (and generally good at both although a little late in recognizing that players like Ricardo Clark and Oguchi Onyewu should not have been starting for the U.S. in the World Cup), but not the USMNT coach. Klinsmann has the guts to hold Jozy accountable for his actions and to not select him.. Now, the U.S. must qualify, which I expect, for this to be borne out as the right decision.

  73. Ted in MN says:

    Agreed. The damage he could do in the long run to US soccer by missing a World Cup is much worse than any benefit he could provide by redoing the youth system. The phrase “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” comes to mind if he fails.

  74. whoop-whoop says:

    Except…. Jozy’s tweet was a reaction to previous criticism regarding his play and his effort. This has obviously been a problem for a while if one looks at JKs words over a long term period as well as JA’s lack of playing time. The tweet most certainly didn’t help his cause being the exact opposite response a coach would hope for, but to insinuate that it is ALL that this is about is ridiculous.

    I say this as a fan of Josy’s who fully believes he will be in our starting 11 and productive for years to come. I think this is a necessary bump in the road for a young player to develop into a great person and player. Based on what I’ve seen of him in interviews and Eredivise play, I think he has potential to be both- I’d bet JK does as well. Cheers.

  75. whoop-whoop says:

    Thank you… my thoughts exactly.

  76. FozzyBear says:

    A ridiculous statement. Good teams miss World Cups all the time. Let’s remember: the USMNT is not Germany, Italy, Argentina, or Brazil.

    Missing a World Cup has never stopped England from thinking they will win the next one!

  77. TonyT says:

    who the heck is Lieu? Is he on the roster??

  78. jb says:

    Yes, his 10 minute performance in Columbus was plenty to determine it was lazy. It was must-win, we had a 1 goal advantage and Jamaica had some momentum. Jozy was brought in to kill the game, had fresh legs, and did very little to pressure Jamaica, made little effort to do anything useful to help the team. I made up no facts and have no bias. Jozy seems like a nice kid with loads of potential, and as a US fan I wish him the best.

    But here’s your fact: His performance for the US over the last year have not been good enough, and worse, his effort hasn’t been either.

  79. whoop-whoop says:

    Did he say it is THE most important, or that it is important. Big difference. Should he make the best decision he can for the team based on all of the facts…. or on a fragmented piece of a statement to the media at one time?

    You have to keep in mind, what is presented/said to players within the privacy of the locker room is often quite different in tone and content to that presented to the media.

  80. Darwin says:

    Oh, hi Preston Zimmerman. Get out of the German fourth league before you comment here.

  81. BrianVT says:

    +2

  82. Old School says:

    “Are you the definition of a level headed poster? I don’t think a “level headed poster” would provide such an emotional outburst, or tell others to eat crow because their opinions don’t agree with their own.”

    The response is in kind to being routinely called a hater for stating verbatim what JK finally omitted.

    Whether or not you agree with my is irrelevant. If it doesn’t apply to you, keep moving.

  83. Helium-3 says:

    Everyone and their brother talks about the Jamaica game as if they have short term memory. Do you remember how lazy Jozy was in the Guatemala game when he acted like a diva and demanded the pass from Bradley late in game? Then Bradley finally made the pass across the box, and Jozy stopped running; if he continued on the run like a hard-working Gomez, it could have been a foregone conclusion to the final score.

  84. EA says:

    Isn’t Claudio Reyna responsible for the changes at the youth level?

  85. Mingjai says:

    Understandable if you’re qualifying in UEFA. How many good teams miss qualifying out of CONCACAF?

  86. Ryan in NYC from NC says:

    Ted in MN nailed it!

  87. Kosh says:

    So when he says (and I am paraphrasing here) that he will incorporate specialist on a case-by-case, as needed basis one can see how that would conflict with his other stricter stances (like no new players or club form, etc.) But JK has specifically laid out why the new guys are here, which – like it or not – does make sense.

    Then there’s the “but he was just prasing Jozy crowd” who find it conflicting that he has followed carrot with stick. Also, nothing new in the teaching and nurturing of young people.

    I get it some people really like Jozy and others really hate JK and for some this presents the perfect synergy between these groups. We can pick and choose and nit-pick and complain all we like. But when you use ALL of what JK has said in past interviews (not just the parts we like) – I am not sure about the claims of hypocricy.

  88. michael says:

    +one million!!

  89. Liga says:

    I actually remember that exact play.

    I yelled at my friend because of it. I turned right at him and screamed, “that’s why Herculez Gomez deserves every minute he is on the pitch–he would have continued that run.”

    It was I think a tipping point with me and Jozy where the fandom was overcome by the disgust at lack of effort.

  90. Charles says:

    Has he really been that productive, that he is immune ?
    Are we really that thin, that he would be immune ?

    I say no.

  91. PTM says:

    England. That’s your proof that it’ll be OK if we miss out. Really? A delusional, over-rated, second world country thinking they can win the World Cup. Really? Ever heard of the Dunning–Kruger effect?
    Clearly you confuse the strength of the EPL($) with a good MNT.

  92. tony says:

    As far as I’m concerned, if altidore’s attitude is a problem which JK clearly think so, then send him a message. I’m with Jk on this. Attitude is everything

  93. Since 82 says:

    Grant Wahl has an interesting take on the Jozy snub as well today. Here is a quote from the article:

    When I came right out and asked Altidore — are you and Klinsmann on the same page? — he answered straight up. “I’m the student here,” Altidore said. “I’m the player and I’m learning always. It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand. I have to get on the same page as the boss and all the senior players, not the other way around. I’m not a guy who can walk into the team and say, ‘Guys, adjust to me.’ That’s not my mindset. I’m trying to get on the same page as them, and until I do that I’m sure I won’t be playing. I want to try and do that as quickly as possible. I want to score great goals for the national team and be dominant for them. But unfortunately it’s not so easy sometimes when the styles of play are much different.”

  94. Old School says:

    Straight from the horses mouth.

    ::Disclaimer::

    For those that aren’t aware, it’s a figure of speech. I’m not literally calling Jozy a horse.

  95. smokeminside says:

    but they still fire their coach if the team doesn’t qualify.

  96. cairo says:

    I don’t really care to look at this as Klinsmann vs. Jozy, or this being about a Jozy attitude problem. I’ve always been bugged that Jozy is not much of a threat in the air (for club or country), despite his big body and athleticism. Herc’s work rate is fabulous, he’s scored goals for the Nats, and there’s no problem with filling out the striker pool with guys who have been scoring on headers. For all of EJ’s attitude issues in the past, he’s still among the fastest strikers in the pool, he’s added an impressive aerial game, and is worth another chance. I’m fine with Gordon too, although I’d probably have taken Lenny instead, simply because he will do everything in his power to win the ball in the box (and I’m a Sounders fan)

  97. JRP says:

    You are allowed to lose faith. Just don’t put him to death for being a witch until he has proven he is a witch. And don’t hold someone to every word they ever uttered in an interview.
    It is not like the US has a track record of amazing coaches.
    We have a track record of mediocrity. Most other nations do as well.

  98. JRP says:

    Aliens. Covering up aliens that are probing Brian’s midlands. And, me thinks, he likes it.

  99. Mark says:

    I’m so glad that Jozy Altidore was not called up.

    Apart from being lazy, he doesn’t play with heart or conviction. He’s afraid to fight for 50/50 balls. He’s afraid to jump for a header from a cross into the box. He doesn’t even exert energy if the service is not absolutely perfect.

    Here’s my favorite forwards:

    Herculez Gomez, Clint Dempsey, Terence Boyd, Chris Wondolowski

  100. Troy says:

    Its good because it says you can’t slack and expect to be chosen. Good for Klinsy.

  101. danny says:

    Say what you will about Chandler… but I’ve only seen him give 100% every time he plays for the Nats. He PLAYS like a fighter… whether or not he’s committing to the U.S. Nats for World Cup is a different issue.

  102. solles says:

    there are FAR more people outside England than inside who seem to think the English are delusional about their world standing in football. Most English I know recognize a Quarter Final finish for them at Euro or the World Cup is about all they can hope for.

  103. Eddie says:

    You’ve asked the question that has been puzzling me as well. Why can’t JK get similar results out of Jozy? Perhaps it has something to do with the constantly shifting midfield with no creativity that has something to do with it. Until, and if, Holden returns, what is Klinsmann going to do to remedy this issue?

    What bothers me most is the US has a good team, but it is not at the level where a manager can afford not to take his best players, and Jozy is arguably the best option at forward. If Klinsmann really has an issue with Jozy’s effort then he should work with him in training.

  104. Bobby says:

    I think we should just suit Klinsmann up! He looks fit! And you KNOW that mug could still put the ball in the back of the ole onion bag!

  105. solles says:

    a “little bit better”, “working on it” and being “positive” are not the same as “hard working”.

  106. solles says:

    stated poorly… anyway im trying to agree with you.

  107. Old School says:

    Haha.

    You probably aren’t far off. I’m sure he could put in a solid 15-20 minutes off the bench.

  108. Matt Snyder says:

    Didn’t you hear? Schwarzennager finally admitted that Beckerman is not his love-child and Klinsi has fessed up.

  109. Carlo says:

    I don’t always agree with you on everything Ives! But the fact that you present every side of the story is why I always visit this site everyday! Congrats on that!

  110. THomas says:

    Yes. Beckerman is true number 6 and the only other player JK sees as a true number 6 is Williams. He thinks Jones/Bradley are 8′s and that Edu belongs at CB.

  111. THomas says:

    OMFG…can we please get over the tweet thing? I just read Grant Wahl’s article on SI and it has a lot of good quotes from Altidore. He was saying all of the right things, so let’s just hope that when he’s call in next time, he does all of the right things in training and on the field.

  112. ronniet23 says:

    sasha was called against italy which was about a year ago and his perforance wasn’t anything to brag about! Get off the lying kick guys, JK hasn’t lied about anything and he has the right to change his mind from game to game depending on the situation/opponent! Why keep calling up jozy when he gives the nats nothing and hasnt for 2 years now? Give it a rest

  113. DynaMatt says:

    nice try jb, or should i say JURGEN?!

    What i really don’t understand is if Jurgen wanted to send him a message, bring him in and have him train with the USMNT and then don’t play him. He bitches that Jozy doesn’t try to adapt to his system, then why waste the practice sessions? It isn’t as if Jozy is with the squad week in and week out.

  114. beachbum says:

    Jozy’s dip in USMNT goal scoring coincides with Klinsmann’s arrival, and interestingly all this while Jozy has been in his best club form ever

    hard for me to conclude therefore it’s all Jozy’s issue, and what a freakin’ firestorm this has become. The team may overcome it considering the opponents and the quality of the players on the USMNT and particularly its midfield for these two games, but you can’t tell me the timing of this public display and subsequent bruhaha has helped prepare this team better for the two quali games.

    GO USA!!!

  115. Sean says:

    Probably because neither has done too well with their MLS teams – both of which are languishing at the bottom of the East.

  116. GW says:

    She. Dr Watson in the new Shelock Holmes. Played one of Charlie’s Angels. First name Lucy.

  117. Andrew H. says:

    Does it bother anyone else that Jozy doesn’t sing the national anthem or even put his hand over his heart? Also, I think Donovan could be benches in the next round of qualifiers if we qualify.

  118. biff says:

    OH MY GOSH, Helium-3. GREAT COMMENT. YOU ARE A GENIUS. I HAD FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT THAT PLAY AND JOZY SIMPLY STOPPING WHEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A SURE GOAL, LOOKING ALMOST AS IF HE STOPPED ON PURPOSE. HAD HE TAPPED IN THAT EASY GOAL, THEN THE USMNT WOULD HAVE WON 2-1 WIN AND GOTTEN 3 POINTS INTEAD OF ONLYH ONE POINT AND WE WOULD NOW BE AT 9 POINTS IN THE GROUP STAGE WITH JAMAICA AND 7 POINTS AND GUATEMALA AT ONLY 6 POINTS.

    And there was a guy who posted on a thread yesterday who was in Columbus and he claims Jozy on the field as a late sub was giving no effort at all, which I did not pick up on the video broadcast. But if Klinsmann felt Jozy was not giving 100% in the last 10 minutes of a must-win game then one could interpret as meaning that Klinsmann does not trust Jozy in these last two crucial games and simply does not want him on the field but only players that he trusts.

  119. biff says:

    “Yes, JKs immediate goal is to make it to WC 2014, but the more important goal is to change the culture surrounding the US National team.”

    Are you serious, man? Do you really believe that changing the culture surrounding the US National team is more important than qualifying for WC 2014?

  120. al17 says:

    Thanks for the correction but I stand by what I said. He’s a hypocrite. The number of call ups Torres (whom I like) and Castillo (whom I don’t like) continued to get despite their performances when playing with the Nats during this same period is more than enough proof for me.

  121. Slobodan says:

    yup. thanks. was going to say the same thing…
    “…and while you can’t argue with the notion that Altidore’s U.S. national team form has been largely disappointing, it is extremely difficult to argue that he still remains one of the national team pool’s best forwards.”

  122. Dennis says:

    Well, It was when Bradley was coach that the academy teams came about. They were encouraged to play fewer, but more important games, devote more time to training. Bradley used to talk nearly daily with each of the national level coaches in efforts to ensure that they were approaching things in the same sort of way and he listened to their advice. No one person has a perfect vision of the future and Bradley was smart enough to know that. Bob was always striving to push players along to be a little better.

    Changes, not so much, the present youth coach Williams was one of Bradley’s proteges from Metrostar days. So I find it kind of silly to say Klinsmann has changed things that much, sure things have continued to evolve, but nothing earth-shaking. Well, maybe you just weren’t paying attention.

    Biggest difference is Klinsmann talks more.

  123. Dennis says:

    Sure, the reason Jozy didn’t score is because he was largely on the bench. I didn’t score either, but I tried real hard. Faulting a player who gets few minutes for not scoring is silly. Wondolowski and Altidore are similar in that regard.

  124. Dennis says:

    Klinsmann likes to talk, he just can’t remember what he said.

  125. Ted in MN says:

    I agree with you which is also why I think you missed my point. Good teams do miss the World Cup and the USMNT is a long way away from those that you’ve mentioned.
    What I’m trying to say is that a great deal of interest in soccer in the US is dependent upon the World Cup and the US appearance there. While MLS is much better off than any soccer league in the US has ever been, the sport simply doesn’t have the popularity that it does in those other countries where its the primary one. Missing the World Cup is something that could have longterm implications throughout US soccer. Even if the US were to say make the 18 version, an 8 year gap would do much more damage here than in most of the world.

  126. chris says:

    “working hard” its right in the quote

  127. robbo says:

    I think Klinsman took this action not to call in Jozy to cover for his incompetence and ineffectiveness as a Coach. The USA has no shown much progress under Klinsman. He needs to go. He is destroying the chemistry if this team. He needs to go. You suck Klinsman.

  128. You said Jozy had not started for over a year when, in fact, he started a month ago. THAT was a made up fact. Your evaluation of a player in 10 minutes of play proves that you don’t know what you are looking at and have a predetermined bias. Which makes everything you say irrelevant.

  129. bryan says:

    from the Dutch Telegraaf:

    link to telegraaf.nl (about JK not calling him)

    link to telegraaf.nl (about his red card)

    link to telegraaf.nl (about his red card)

  130. PD says:

    Wow. You’d fire a valuable employee over a tweet?
    #mustbeasmalloneJRP

  131. Dennis says:

    Not quite. It seems to me that Bradley never said anything bad about Jozy (or for that matter publicly about any player), but did get good performances out of Jozy against Spain, and in the W.C. Could it be that Klinsmann is more about Klinsmann that anything else?

  132. Based on the photo, Klinsmann could probably still suit up and play!

  133. primoone says:

    Yes…lets drop Beckerman and Edu.

  134. Mark Maxen says:

    beckerman is actually very consistent in not losing balls…the jamaica away game was unlucky

  135. Mark Maxen says:

    edu is an offensive minded option at centerback that could be the next step in the evolution into k manns style. What cb do we have that can pick a pass other than Geoff?
    Sounds fun.

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