Altidore breaks USMNT rut with stellar showing vs. Germany

JozyAltidore (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

WASHINGTON– Give Jozy Altidore service, and playing time, and he will score goals.

This is something people might have forgotten considering it had been 18 months since Altidore last scored a U.S. Men’s National Team goal, but on Sunday we were given a very clear reminder that this is very much the case.

The folks at AZ Alkmaar know this after spending the past two seasons watching Altidore score goals at a maddening rate. While the U.S. was struggling to get Altidore the ball, AZ was feeding him the kind of service that could not only help him be productive, but also help him grow as a player.

Finding similar success with the national team has been far more elusive, and no player has been hurt more by Jurgen Klinsmann’s lengthy quest for a productive midfield than Altidore, who just might have started losing patience with the persistent storyline painting him as a hapless national team striker.

Could you really blame him for growing tired of that theme? After all, he was coming off a 31-goal season for Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, the best goal-scoring season by an American in Europe ever. Despite the truckload of goals, and many of the highlight-reel variety, his return to the national team was met with more of the same sentiment that, while all those club goals were nice, he still hadn’t scored for the U.S. since 2011.

That all changed on Sunday, when Altidore found himself wide open in front of the Germany goal with a perfect Graham Zusi pass floating his way. Rather than scuffing his chance, or missing on the attempt, Altidore struck a perfect volley for a goal that not only had to be sweet relief for the 23-year-old striker, but also a welcome sight for a stadium full of U.S. fans eager to see him get going.

He didn’t stop with the goal. Altidore also delivered a beautiful assist on Clint Dempsey’s third goal to show off the growth he has enjoyed as a star target man for AZ, and the qualities U.S. fans have been waiting years to see in a U.S. uniform.

Altidore turned in his best national team performance in years, and it isn’t a coincidence that it was also a match that featured some of the best service he has seen in years with the U.S. Opportunities have been tough to come by with the national team, a far cry from the chance-fest he enjoys playing in front of a stacked midfield with AZ.

“The biggest thing was creating chances,” Altidore said after the match. “I think today was huge in terms of the amount of opportunities we created, how aggressive we were going forward. I think that was the difference.

“I think we’ve always had the talent but it was just a matter of showing it and today I thought we showed signs of that.”

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann praised Altidore, and also defended his recent lack of national team productivity, pointing out that he hasn’t seen the amount of service necessary to succeed. That changed on Sunday.

“We want him to have chances,” Klinsmann said of Altidore. “We want him to have opportunities to score. In a lot of the games he didn’t score he really didn’t have chances.

“Obviously it helps if Graham Zusi is able to break out to the end line, or the left side whoever it is can bring balls in,” Klinsmann said. “Tonight not only feeding him vertically, but from the side with crosses. He’s strong in the air. He’s technically very, very gifted.”

Klinsmann did make a point to state that Altidore is still adjusting to the responsibilities of being the U.S. team’s target man, and dealing with the high level of play found on the international level.

“The international level is just a different speed, with all due respect, don’t get me wrong, (than) with Holland,” Klinsmann said. “I’m happy for every goal he scores, but it’s a totally different speed. We’re talking about two or three different levels.

“He adjusts to it. He fights in his way,” Klinsmann added. “Sometimes he works very hard defensively, also with Clint, and when he gets really, really tired I’d rather sub him then and give him a breather.

“He has the finishing. He has the class to do that and he chose a nice moment tonight to finish it off.”

Sunday’s performance could be just what Altidore needed to get going, and perhaps more importantly, Klinsmann might have found the pieces to put around Altidore to help him thrive. Altidore needs to score goals in order for the U.S. to navigate World Cup qualifying successfully and Sunday’s match was a major step toward Altidore translating his club success to the international level.

After the match, Altidore didn’t speak like someone flustered by an 18-month national team goal drought. Then again, a goal and assist are enough to instill confidence and belief that he can become the goal machine the U.S. needs him to be.

“I honestly feel like I’ve been doing the right things,” Altidore said. “It’s just a matter of being patient and waiting for the chances.

“I think against Belgium, I was unlucky,” Altidore added. “I had a very similar chance but [Vincent] Kompany had nicked it with his head and it caught me off balance. Today, I had the chance and I just concentrated on it, and I know that if I keep getting them I can be successful.”

Altidore showed on Sunday that he can finish when chances come his way. The trick for Klinsmann and the national team is to keep those chances coming. If they do, Altidore’s national team goal drought days could become a distant memory.

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154 Responses to Altidore breaks USMNT rut with stellar showing vs. Germany

  1. bizzy says:

    looks like no bad mouthing Altidore and Dempsey for a while…lol

    • Leo says:

      Please. If he misses an opportunity next match, everyone will be all over him again.

      • TomG says:

        What!!? Didn’t you see how he twitched his eyebrow after the goal? Clearly he is selfish and lacks passion for USMNT!

      • Old School says:

        Clint has the most goals under JK by a large margin and there’s still criticism for him, fair or unfair.

        Given that fact, Jozy will always be a target for criticism of people wanting to see more of him if goes another 2 years without scoring a goal in the run of play.

        • Josh D says:

          It’s an interesting argument: People bash Klinsi, blaming him for Jozy’s poor goal-to-game ratio. However, Dempsey’s production has skyrocketed. I think he has like 13 goals in 16 appearances, or something insane like that. Whereas under Bradley, he was scoring far less.

          • Old School says:

            Great point, actually.

            Although, if I remember correct for the majority of BB’s reign, Dempsey played outwide, correct?

            Similar to club, Dempsey in recent years has played more of an advanced role which increases the ratio of scoring, generally.

            Still, good point on the contrast.

          • GW says:

            That is because Clint is a better player now than he was under BB.

            When JK took over he was forced to make Dempsey the offensive centerpiece of the USMNT because Landon was AWOL and Jozy was not scoring. Clint is a better scorer than Jozy. He is a garbageman and does not need the kind of structure, the kind of help,Jozy needs to score As they say he is good at coming up with goals out of nothing so to speak.

            The USMNT need Clint to score and he usually responds well to challenges.

            • CroCajun says:

              Great point. I’ve always felt Clint could play goalie and still somehow come up w/ goals.

          • Shawn G says:

            Dempsey hasn’t been playing the 9 shirt for the US under either Klinsi or BB. He has been in the ‘false-striker’ role for Klinsi though, which he really wasn’t for BB. So it’s helped him that way. He can drift to where defenders aren’t and make chances.

            With Jozy, he’s been a back-to-goal sole target player. Without the liberty of roaming that Dempsey had. I’ll note again, NO ONE has been playing that role well for the US under Klinsman. Not Jozy, not EJ, Wondo, or Boyd. Even Gomez, who gets lots of love, isn’t exactly prolific in his strike rate.

            That points to a problem in the system, not just a problem with the player. Because it was across the board. What we saw against Germany was much better. Now is it sustainable is the next question.

            • Old School says:

              “Dempsey hasn’t been playing the 9 shirt for the US under either Klinsi or BB”

              I don’t believe anyone above your comment said he did.

              • Shawn G says:

                Not saying that they did. But you can’t make an apples-to-apples comparison of Deuce’s production to Jozy’s when they’re not playing the same role.

                Compare Jozy to the other players who were in the ’9′ role, and you see the entire position has been a mess. Not just him.

        • TomG says:

          The point is that people still bash Deuce if he goes even one game without a goal. It’s crazy.

      • Paul Miller says:

        A single striker set-up in which that target is the side’s top scorer is a sign of an unimaginative team. Your target should be laying balls off for middie shots, and turning every once in a while to keep defenders honest. Actually I think most of your striker goals will either come off keeper/defender deflections or when moving the ball around in an attack perimeter, during which your striker isn’t necessarily playing striker at the moment. The name of the position is a misnomer, and probably one of Brit origin. The Brits haven’t understood the game for several decades.

    • Dennis says:

      The big difference between the germany and belgium games was the low pressure germany employed early-on. That let Bradley, Jones and Evans get their heads up to survey the field and serve good balls that Dempsey, Zusi, Johnson(both) and Altidore could do something with.

  2. Alex says:

    A strong indication is when Altidore is involved early on he usuasly has a strong impact on the game….if not frusration sets in and he seems to fade.

    • Alex says:

      usually* frustration*

    • beachbum says:

      agreed. that the USA played a formation with tactics to seek him out and play thru him, along with partnering him with a buddy up top, all are right up his alley, and he delivered

  3. Hawk says:

    I will gladly take my hot, steaming plate of Crow on this one. I had given up on him after the Belgium performance. I guess he was sick afterall. While he did receive better service in this match, it was really his overall activity and involvement that caught my eye. This was what I felt had been missing from his game.

    If I remember correctly on his goal, he held the ball well in midfield that allowed Dempsey and Zusi to get involved and move the attack forward. He then made the necessary run that resulted in the Zusi pass and his subsequent finish. Other times we was running channels and causing an overall nuissance around the box. That is why I personally had been so critical of his play. I wasn’t as disappointed in his lack of scoring productivity as much as his work rate.

    Jozy put it all together today. I can only hope this is what we will get from now on. So glad I was wrong about him. Kudos to those of you who stuck up for him. I’m back on the bandwagon baby!

  4. CroCajun says:

    Give the man the ball. What what he do with it.

  5. 2tone says:

    This game could be the defining moment that all of us supporters look back at and say: “this was when Altidore finally arrived, and jumpstarted his USMNT stardom.”

    The guy is only 23 and has 14 goals for the USMNT. He could be in the 30 to 40 goal range by 26.

    • beachbum says:

      he’s arrived before…I disagree. However perhaps it’s the game where we will say “JK set his team up to get Jozy off, and Jozy delivered”

      • dude says:

        I think you’ve got it right, but the fact that the team played more to Jozy’s strengths in this game might be a new beginning.

        Jozy was brought in as this athletic, freakishly strong finisher who fans hoped would be McBride 2.0. He’s not; he’s gotten more used to being a target, but he is not the same type.

        Ultimately, teams have to play to their best player’s strengths. If in fact the US team is finally doing that, then Jozy is arriving for the first time, not as someone who has to conform to an uncomfortable system, but as a player who the team is built around.

        • dude says:

          should have read best players’ strengths- Jozy is very important, but not numbero uno at this point.

        • V-8 says:

          A few years ago I wrote: “He thinks he’s Pato. He could be Drogba. I’d be happy if he was Ching.” He was closer to Drogba today.

          I’ve been critical of him the past, which those opposed called “hating.” The genuine hate of the “Jozy Altidore ‘haters’” has been something to behold.

          But Taylor Twellman -a guy who knows AT LEAST as much football as we, the people who post here – summed it up well today when he said, in essence, that the guy we saw today was not the same guy we have seen over the past 18 months. And it’s not the goals but the little things (positioning, fight, etc.) that were non existent.

          JA delivered 18 months of certainty. Like many, I thnk this will be a break through game. I’m looking forward to (at least) 18 months of real grit and drive going forward.

          • TomG says:

            Not saying TT doesn’t know anything about football, but TT’s on air persona says about 8 dumb things to every smart one. I think he’s trying to be sensationalistic, but he doesnt come across at all smart to me. I can’t stand listening to him.

            • Alex says:

              I agree and just because he played professionally doesnt mean he’s a genius.

            • Shawn G says:

              I agree about Twellman being overly sensational. He’s actually much better on Big Head/Red Head than as a commentator. I also think TT has his favorites. Altidore isn’t one of them. At least not during match commentary.

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            Twellman may not be soccer’s greatest commentator, but I have to agree with his assessment of Jozy.

            The obvious that everyone ahs talked about is the improved service to Jozy. Yes, it was significantly improved. However, what made Jozy’s performance the best we have possibly ever seen from him was the all around work. He was making great runs off the ball, fighting with defenders for position and working hard to pressure the ball when we didn’t have it. With the addition of the goal and as$ist, it was a complete game from our most talented striker. It has been quite a while since we have seen the total package come together like that from hi,.

            • TomG says:

              He’s been doing all of that stuff since coming back from the JK banishment last year (with the exception of a couple off performances). It’s just that few actually notice it because of the goal drought.

              • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

                You can’t say he’s been doing it with the exception of a few off performances when there’s only been 4-5 games since his banishment.

                This was Jozy’s best game for us in a really really long time and possibly his best all around effort in a US shirt. He did everything well. Usually its a matter of Jozy doing some things well and some not so well. There was nothing lacking yesterday. Complete package game from Jozy.

              • TomG says:

                He’s done it in several other games without being rewarded by goals is my point. I disagree with the TT premise that Jozy magically somehow showed up today for the first time. He’s been making strides for a long time now, but TT wants to create a psychological narrative because it’s interesting and he wants to claim some sort of dramatic angle. IMO these psychological angles are generally bunk. If that ball isn’t played correctly by Zusi, we’re still talking about how Jozy can’t come through on for USMNT and he has some psychological block.

              • TomG says:

                I do agree with your assessment that Jozy was more consistent yesterday, though.

              • TomG says:

                I do agree with your a$$essment that Jozy was more consistent in all aspects yesterday, though.

              • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

                I didn’t ehar Twellman’s comments directly but was just responding to the above post. I agree Jozy has been improving his all around game especially since moving to AZ. My point was that it all finally came together for him vs Germany. He was fantastic yesterday and if he keeps working and performing that way he will be a constant threat for us.

              • Rami says:

                Don’t ever listen to TT he is uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite “If Bruce would have put me in the second half we would have won the WC no doubt in my mind”

          • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

            “He thinks he’s Pato. He could be Drogba. I’d be happy if he was Ching.” – CLASSIC

            I’m not a big TT fan in the booth, however he did state something on this game that is critical. A Center Forward has to stay central…and that was a big part of the game compared to Belgium. As was the service which was early and often….and Brad Evans (who I still for the life of me can’t figure out what Klinsmann is doing with him considering he was a ‘late addition’) – led the charge with the early cross on the money.

      • Josh D says:

        I agree. Against Costa Rica after the Davies incident when Jozy said he realized how delicate a soccer career is, he played an amazing game. Which was the pinnacle because afterward he took the nose dive. Hopefully the pieces are coming together.

    • Johnny says:

      “jumpstarted his USMNT stardom”?!?

      Umm….no. He had a nice game.

      I see someone desperately wants the a mountain out of this molehill.

      • dude says:

        I see someone clutching at straws, trying to make a negative happen on this thread. Nice try.

      • 2tone says:

        Reading and comprehension isn’t your strengths is it?

        I am not going to dumb down my comment for you.

    • Old School says:

      For me, he’ll truly arrive as a force when he doesn’t check out mentally, regardless of circumstances.

      The kid has as much talent as you could ask for but today showed when he’s focused, good things happen for everyone on the pitch.

      I do say kid, because he’s only 23 and still maturing. I hope he see’s that it’s a reciprocal relationship being a teammate. Run your tail off, put yourself in good position and the ball will find it’s way to you.

      Being a star means putting up good stats. Being a leader means how you perform, act and carry yourself under less than ideal circumstances.

      I’m ready for Jozy to be a leader. He’s already a star.

      • downintexas says:

        +1. Well said. He is only 23. If he keeps developing the way he is, if he keeps challenging himself. better league and such, he will rip up WC 2018. Don’t most forwards hit there prime in the late 20′s?

      • Bac says:

        You hit it on the money. Try and think back to a game where he put in a great shift from a hustle standpoint but didn’t score, I can remember once… I wanna see him work like a Rooney out there, or even like Herc… and if he does that people will continue to believe…and not just look at his stats. That’s where he becomes a leader like you say

        • CroCajun says:

          Rooney and Herc are not the norm. Most guys can’t run like that. Van Persie doesn’t run like that. Falcao doesn’t run like that. Ibra doesn’t run like that.

          You don’t have to run down everything like Rooney to be a great striker/running down everything doesn’t make you a great striker.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I was impressed with the finishing and the effort. But Germany fielded experimental players and looked overheated. Gotta prove it every chance.

      • Eurosnob says:

        Your are genrally correct, but let’s not forget that these “experimental players” completely destroyed one of the best South American teams just a few days ago. It’s a very good win that should give the USMNT plenty of confidence going into the WC cup qualifier this week.

        • Old School says:

          According to FIFA, Ecuador was ranked #10 in the World and they absolutely destroyed them and then took their foot of the gas.

          Of course, I generally laugh at the FIFA rankings but some people actually use them as a litmus of how strong a nation is.

          Don’t be so quick to pour cold water on the result, Imperative Voice. The bulk of the players called up play in top leagues and some for top teams.

          Let’s put it this way, he had the game of his life but they have no Brad Evans’s. They’re still massively stacked and we earned that result.

        • john says:

          These “experimental” players are ALL Bundesliga and EPL fixtures. No apologies should be given, because none are necessary. End of discussion.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Oh, c’mon, if EPL teams trot out their reserves for FA Cup they can get beat, sometimes by large margins, by lower division sides. The players who just got beat would fulfill your criteria of being first division players in a serious league blah blah.

            The specifics matter. They played a stronger team against Ecuador and were trying different people for the first half of our game. We jumped on that unit. They put better players out for half two, the game become more competitive.

            Is the USA the same USA when we trot out the C team for Camp Cupcake? No one pretends they are when we tie Canada. So why do I have to pretend Germany B/C is Germany A? Or that this wasn’t us trying real hard first half against a team giving new players a go, since they have no games that count this international date?

            I also watched a lot of Germans limiting their running. The heat mattered. I don’t think the result is the same even with the same units if it’s played in 50-60F in Germany.

            • john says:

              Your argument is baseless. Of course the US “C” team is not the same. But all the Germans on that field were FIRST TEAM Bundesliga and EPL players. EVERYONE of them would not only start for us, but be considered one of our top players. As we laud FJ, DW and (sometimes) TC, we must remember they were fringe considerations for Germany, not serious contenders. We beat Germany, plain and simple. Was it their best side? Obviously not, but one that could beat most anyone in the world. But they didn’t beat us on Sunday.

      • GW says:

        “Experimental players”

        How many of them would start for the US?

        Were you at the game? If not then if you had been at the game you would have seen a German team that was completely capable of easily putting 4-6 goals past Howard. The fact that they did not was due to a questionable ref, a clown keeper and a fine overall team performance by the US.

        As for the heat, both teams played in it and I was impressed they both played up tempo as long as they did.

        Germany is a system, not an all star collective. Sure the Bayern, Dortmund and Madrid guys were missed but that was still a better team than the US.

        Whether Jozy sparked the attack or the attack sparked Jozy is a chicken or egg question that we will see about in the next few games,

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Still a better team? Not what the scoreboard reflects. The tour started with them leaving out most of the Dortmund/Bayern/Madrid etc. players, and then they started their more serious unit for Ecuador.

          This was like one of those FA Cup or USOC games where you’re playing Newcastle with Brighton but Brighton shows up with their real XI and Newcastle runs out mostly reserves, and lo and behold the team that shows up motivated with their real XI wins. Newcastle for a couple years runninglost in the FA Cup to Stevenage or Brighton. Does this mean Stevenage and Brighton “Have Arrived?” That’s not what pro/rel or the lower division tables reflect. It reflects that a depleted top side is not necessarily better than a relatively first choice lesser squad.

          • GW says:

            Better teams get upset all the time.

            Winning one game means you played better on the night.

            When the US beat Spain 2-0 in the Confed Cup, a game where I still believe Spain did not take the US seriously until it was too late, not for one second did I believe the US were a better team.

            Your FA Cup analogy is flawed because no one is saying this victory means the USMNT has “arrived”.
            It means they took over control of the game from a very worthy opponent, had it long enough to inflict fatal damage and then held on.

            It was just one more step in a long team building process.

            It can be a very positive boost, given the encouraging response to the massive ongoing criticism. And with the upcoming run of WC qualifiers starting in Kingston, the fact that the game was played in Jamaica like weather is also a positive.

    • Dennis says:

      I do not think teams that paid any attention to the US-Germany game will fail to pressure the US back line and defending midfield. At least Bradley, Jones and Evans showed that absent pressure they can serve balls that put the attackers in positions from which they can do something.
      It will be interesting to see if the US can keep up the kind of attack we saw Sunday when the opponent closes the backline down sooner and keeps pressure on the ball.

  6. John says:

    Funny that Klinsmann always goes out of his way to insult the Dutch league, and thereby undermine Altidore’s accomplishments there.

    • TomG says:

      I actually thought he was a little more circumspect in his comments than he usually is, but yes, that’s one of his favorite lines. I wonder what he will say when Jozy’s in the Bundesliga next season?

    • kev says:

      its strange, because he never insults the Scandinavian leagues, or MLS of course, both of which are a lower level.

    • bryan says:

      it’s just the inner German in him. has to keep the rivalry alive. haha

    • GW says:

      Verbeek, Jozy’s manager, has been very clear in print about his utter contempt for JK , the manager, not the player.

      Add the historical enmity that sometime arises, something about all those invasions and its clear there is little love lost there.

  7. DaveInSLO says:

    I like our Germans. The Germans can make do with their Turks and Pols.

    • PD says:

      Do you mean the Gerpolish players that were there last night or the dual citizens who play for Bayern, Real Madrid, and Dortmund (a team that also has Neven “the one the got away” Subotic)? I think US Soccer fans would gladly have any one of those players in our pipeline. I’m thankful for our Dual-Nationals, too, but come on.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Yeah and their “Turks and Poles” were actually born and raised in Germany so I hardly think it’s comparable.

        • Eurosnob says:

          Podolski was born in Poland.

          • Gbott says:

            As was Klose.

          • edmondo says:

            Yes both were born in Poland, but Podolski has live in the Cologne area since before he started school. I believe 2/3 yrs old. I know because I used to live in Cologne/Koln. Klose also born in Poland, but his father is ethnic German.

            However, at the end of the day WHO CARES! You play for you feel the most for. Speaking as some who has dual nationality, I completely understand.

            • Eurosnob says:

              I wouldn’t fault Klose and Podolski for playing for Germany, nor would I criticize Jones, Johnson, Chandler and Williams for playing for the USMNT. However, there have been plenty of comments on these boards arguing that our German-Americans are not American enough to represent our country because they were born in Germany.

  8. Tom says:

    One other potential benefit from Altidore’s performance is that it could boost his chances of moving to a bigger club within Germany. Hopefully a few coaches/front offices in the Bundesliga saw the game and/or read the reviews.

    • Leo says:

      This. It was pretty clear to see whose stock dropped today (ter Stegen, Gonzalez) and who might be enjoying a bump during Silly Season (Altidore and Dempsey to a lesser extent…perhaps Spurs will be more inclined to hold on to him as they try to build on their squad).

      I (and many others here) have said it time and again. Get him the ball. It doesn’t matter what league you play in or what speed. It takes skill to put the ball in the back of the net, and Jozy has been able to do it in Eredivisie time and time again, finding space, making runs, from distance or with multiple defenders trying to drag him down.

      I’m glad Klinsmann is starting to get his tactics worked out, that’s what I’ve been waiting on more than Jozy breaking his goal-scoring drought. Nobody has been scoring goals for the US, to break out with 2 against Belgium and to drop 4 on Germany, b-squad or not, is welcome news to me.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Yes, what Jozy needs to do is move to a bigger club like Villareal, Xerez, Bursaspor, or Hull.

      They just ran a new Gatsby movie and yet…..

      • Francois says:

        Your comments are always ridiculous, “imperative” voice. Jozy was young, and not nearly as gifted as he is now when he went to all of those teams. 18-20 year old Jozy is not even a fair comparison to Jozy today. Let’s just examine the circumstances under which he was a part of these various clubs: Xerez; Injured and never wanted by manager. Villareal; 18 YEARS OLD, show me a player who transfers to a large Spanish club and does well right away. It is VERY rare to find a kid who goes to a club like Villareal and makes an impact with how stacked they were at forward. Jefferson Montero was at the club the same Jozy was, and didn’t fair any better. Bursaspor; was scoring goals. Hull City; I’ll give you, but it was still a horrible situation with a horrible team.

      • Pirithous says:

        And, calling Xerez, Bursaspor, and Hull (or even Villareal) as “big clubs” is about as ridiculous as your comments above comparing the Germans playing in this game to the Newcastle reserves. Your comments are really going off a cliff lately, Mr. Voice.

      • Rami says:

        You know who played for European teams at the age he was at those teams…..freakin no one else on our national team.

  9. Nate Dollars says:

    “Klinsmann did make a point to state that Altidore is still adjusting to the responsibilities of being the U.S. team’s target man, and dealing with the high level of play found on the international level.”

    funny, jozy didn’t seem to have a problem scoring on the international level before klinsmann arrived.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Ummm, South Africa 2010? Ultimate stage, 0-fer? What I want to say to Jozy’s puffed-up advocates is that this is his history, he scores in some big game, we annoint him again, he checks out for a few more games, we go back to what the heck talk. If he wants to be a fixture like Dempsey, he needs to show up for at least a chunk of each game in a big way.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i agree that he didn’t have a great 4 games at the world cup (as opposed to dempsey, i guess, who scored all of 1 goal–the rob green howler).

        but who’s anointing him? i’m simply disagreeing with those saying he’s not up to playing at the international level. he’s already shown that he is, by being the leading team scorer in the 2010 world cup quals. those count, right? national teams playing other national teams?

        • Nate says:

          Right? Jozy scored 10 goals in his first 32 caps, including a hat trick against TandT in qualifying. The guy scored in confederations against Spain. And you want to argue he has no history scoring goals for country? Come on imperative…

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            I referenced the World Cup performance, you’re the one bringing up his overall history. I didn’t say he has no goals, I said he went 0-fer the World Cup.

            The reality is he has to prove he can score in Big Games.

            The reality is that he has as many goals as EJ in more caps.

            • Nate says:

              um, you were using Jozy’s performance at the world cup to rebut nate dollars’ assertion that Jozy has a proven track record scoring at the international level. You are so hell bent against Altidore that you cant even keep track of your own arguments…He HAS proven he can score in big games. Confed against the reigning European champs is a pretty big game. Scoring a hat trick in a qualifer is a big deal. Period.

      • Travis says:

        Jozy was one of the better players in South Africa for the US. I know he didn’t score, and that is something to criticize, but he looked very dangerous in SA.

        • Falsify says:

          I remember quite well when Jozy played the ball in to Dempsey and it deflected to give Donovan the ball for his goal against Algeria.

        • GW says:

          Jozy did not score in but he did everything else you could ask for.

          He sent in the cross that Clint got blocked on with the resulting rebound rolling out to LD for “that” goal.

          He was very unlucky not to score against England and Ghana.

          Both he and Dempsey took remarkably heavy beatings throughout the tournament.

  10. EspinDOHla says:

    Excellent performance!!!

    O/T: Do you think there will be an open training session in Seattle like they did in Cleveland and DC? I wasn’t sure since it’s a WCQ…Making a 17 hour drive so I hope to see the team as much as possible!

  11. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Jozy had a nice game. But Germany’s B team’s defense was very lax. Jozy was virtually by himself with no one around him when he scored. He still needs to show that he can score when being contested / challenged.

    • Jamie Z. says:

      Therefore, let’s trivialize his accomplishment? Because he could have hypothetically found himself in a more challenging scenario but chose to convert the opportunity that presented itself instead of one that didn’t exist because it was imaginary? Jozy made his chances today with smart runs and hard work and he deserves credit for a strong match. Hopefully, it signifies more good things to come.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        You can’t have it both ways. “Jozy scored on Germany” and yet it could have been “more challenging.” I think he scored on an experimental side that didn’t find its way until the second half. I think he did what he did, well, but since it wasn’t Germany A, grain of salt, show me you can do it again next week. But he did earn next week, and perhaps a starting nod. But if he wants to keep it he needs to shed the yo-yo of scoring on Italy or whatnot and then embarrassing himself the next game or two.

        • richd3668 says:

          Or you could look at it this way. Germany could get nothing going until Jozy was subbed out. That would also not be the first time that taking Jozy out led to collapse of the team, for example, Belgium last week.

        • Nate says:

          Who has demonstrated the ability to score more consistently for club or country that you would replace him with? I guarantee any name you mention would fail any or all of the so called “tests” you apply to Altidore. So without alternatives, maybe you should move on to another topic and stop picking on Altidore.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            I don’t care how much they score for club when they have a track record issue for country. The whole issue with Jozy is will it translate. Repeating the references to his AZ goals is just trying to buy him more country caps regardless of country performance.

            Like I said, this is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be repeated for him to earn the job. You don’t earn this scoring occasionally, you earn it scoring like Dempsey most every night. Everything else is excuses and arguments.

            In terms of who does it better, Landon has a 1:3 ratio in terms of goals to games, as does Clint; and Herculez is in Jozy’s neighborhood at 1:4. If Jozy wants to deserve the spot ahead of them he needs to score like them.

            • Nate says:

              You talk about Jozy having to earn the job, but fail to name a single player who has “earned” the “right” to play in his place. As if this is some kinf od spoils system. As a US fan, you should want to field the player who give the US the best chance to win. This isn’t about playing some guy who you think “earned the right to be there”. So the only player you name is Gomez, based on 5 goals in 21 caps, only 2 of which came in qualifiers. So, using your “track record in big game” test, Jozy wins that head to head, having scored a hat trick in ONE qualifier, not to mention a goal against a full strength Spain. But if that were your real test, you would be up in arms about Boyd and EJ being included over Gomez. But even EJ beats Gomez based on your “international track record” test.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Heck, EJ is less than 1:4. It’s an effort and consistency issue.

        • Benny says:

          Experimental side the destroyed Ecuador

    • TomG says:

      He was open bc he made a fantastic run and created separation from an EPL Champions League defender, so the whole B team wide open line doesn’t fly.

      • wandmdave says:

        Thank you. I was practically screaming this as i read Kung Fu’s comment. ESPN in broke down his run during a slow mo replay.

        • wandmdave says:

          That being said he did make one really poor run when JJ made is breakaway run and passed into the box for Jozy.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            i don’t know–i thought that at first, but after seeing the replay, it just looked like one of those times where you start making one run, then cut another way (like he did on the first goal). it’s frustrating when you make a p@ss based on the first run, but it happens all the time.

      • Byrdman says:

        I thought it was a mature and intelligent run. He made Mertesacker defend the near post run and then drifted back to the open space. Sometimes his runs are not as we’ll chosen. But this time was perfect. I do think he is learning the nuances of his position.

    • M says:

      lol seriously, It wasn’t luck that allowed Jozy to split the 2 CB’s and then drift back and create separation. What he did to score that goal is exactly what the best in the world would do.

    • PD says:

      Not entirely true. Mertesacker (a regular Starter for Germany) had him marked goal side. Jozy slowed up right before Zusi crossed it, creating space. GZ hit an inch-perfect cross to him (one-timing it mind you) and Atidore hit it one time in kind. Mertesacker did over commit his run back to goal, but there was quite a lot to making that goal happen the relied on composure, vision, and technical ability. That was one of the most sophisticated goals I’ve ever seen the USMNT generate. His assist to Dempsey was in high traffic under close pressure. You could argue that better defenders would have shut him down sooner, but he generated a chance that Dempsey finished. I think it’s reasonable to say he had a stellar performance against a B side that most folks expected to comfortably beat the US.

    • Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

      All good points. Let’s see if it’s a one time thing or a prelude of things to come. Once in 18 months is a fluke, twice is a trend, three times is a habit. Let’s see if Jozy can make it a habit to score goals at the international level … like the way Dempsey has made it a habit.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i can only @ssume you’ve just started watching in the past couple of years (not that there’s anything wrong with that). jozy was scoring very regularly at the international level under bob bradley.

        i guess my point is: we shouldn’t wonder if jozy can make it at the international level (he already has); we should wonder how klinsmann can use his skills in the same way that his club has. hopefully the style of play we saw against germany is a sign of things to come.

  12. Travis says:

    If Altidore can have a couple more performances like that it will only help his stock this summer when he sure to be looking at a move. This was the good Altidore we saw tonight, although it helps that he finally saw service. I liked his goal quite a bit obviously but his a$$ist was even better to me, picked out a late runner perfectly.

  13. battybattybatty says:

    mad·den·ing /ˈmadniNG/ – Adjective – Extremely annoying; infuriating

    yes, the rate of altidore’s goal scoring is very annoying. as is the level of writing on this website. and you’re supposed to be the boss ives, sheesh.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i have no problem with the level of writing on this site, but yeah, ‘maddening’ would not be the correct term. ‘frantic’, maybe?

      • Mig says:

        Even “dizzying”.

        And no, there is no problem with the level of writing on this site. It’s not the Atlantic but it is just fine.

  14. biff says:

    As a recent critic of Jozy’s performances I fully acknowledge he was excellent yesterday, not the Jozy we have seen in some previous games and I am looking forward to seeing more of the same in coming games.

    Along with Jozy, almost everyone on the team looked much better yesterday than in previous games and I am absolutely stumped about how this transformation came about. In previous games a lot of weak back-passing sometimes lackadaisical and wimpy soccer all of a sudden yesterday became high-energy full-of-heart performance and total confidence and bossed the Germans around like they were children. Yes, it was only Germany’s C-team but nonetheless good players and I would be just about certain that the USMNT yesterday could have played on equal footing yesterday with just just about any team in the world and if the guys continue to play like this in the future–look out.

    Anyone have any theories how this happened, what triggered this powerful offensive performance?

    • john says:

      So now it’s a C team? The hyperbole of this site never ceases to amaze. WE BEAT GERMANY.

      • Falsify says:

        Yeah, at first it was their A-B team, then their B team, now their C team. I’m sure tomorrow when I look it will be their D team.

    • Dennis says:

      Germany’s low pressure approach (not the particular players used) which let the US backs possess the ball and did not pressure Jones and Bradley much. That let them (and Evans) serve balls that the attack could do something with. That was much different than the Belgium game (or the Mexico game) where the US backs and midfield were under constant pressure that they could not relieve and they certainly did not do much creative when struggling simply to avoid losing the ball.

    • Benny says:

      That was no C team.

    • GW says:

      biff,

      This US team has not been as bad as you portray it and they are not as good as the Germany win might suggest.

      There is a tendency here to read far too much into every single game and every single personnel question.

      For example, DMB and Castiillo at left back.

      Main flaws, both can be beaten one on one mostly due to faulty positioning, allegedly not “physical” enough ( as if we were talking about linebackers).

      Main asset, both contribute well to the possession game, speed, offensive threats, DMB all around great guy with great experience. Probably a good locker room guy.

      Mostly people focus on what they CAN’T do whereas JK focuses on what they CAN do.

      If their cover, at RFK it was Besler, is on his game, getting beaten once in a while can be handled but if you replace them with some defensively tough donkey who cannot contribute to the movement of the ball as well, then the ball stalls at left back, a pretty important piece in that scheme and possession stagnates and that hurts the defense maybe more. Barca has this same philosophy, i.e. keeping the ball and moving it around intelligently is the best defense.

      That is why JK was willing to use noted ball wizard JFTorres at left back, a position by the way, that JFT played once when BB was there.

      JK focuses on the big picture and is willing to live with the compromise of DMB and Castillo at left back because overall it makes the team’s chances of winning better.

      Compromise seems alien to many of you. To you, if DMB is not a perfect left back at this very moment then he should never play there and he certainly can’t learn the basics quickly. This is silly.

      The US has been building up to this.

      JK’s record is 27 games, 13 wins, 6 draws, 8 losses, 36 goals for and 29 goals against.

      In reality that record is an illusion because there have only been 9 competitive games, the WC qualifiers, preliminary rounds and the Hex. Here in America a team’s record in exhibition games is not considered part of their “real record”.

      JK’s real record is 5 wins 2 ties and 1 loss in WC qualifiers. And in the competitive games, the result is all that matters.

      That part of the record is going okay and the next three games, Jamaica, Panama and Honduras will tell you a great deal about where this entire process is headed next.

      Friendlies are NOT meaningless but they do mean different things to different people, depending on the opponent, the occasion and the timing.

      For example the Brazil friendly after the WC team got back was clearly designed as a celebration/thank you to the 2010 WC team. Basically a big party/money grab. The actual score and how anyone played was comparatively pointless, even though it was Gonzo’s first US game.

      Contrast that to this Germany game. You had a great deal of personal significance for JK, Jones, Fabian, Boyd and Danny Williams. You had the Centenary. You had the recent Belgian debacle. And most of all, you had the need to prep for an important competitive game in hot steamy Jamaica. RFK was hot and steamy.

      So you get something that was the polar opposite of that Brazil game a 2-0 US loss.

      However, for friendlies that fall in between these two extremes it’s clear JK sees them as chances to experiment on various aspects of the team’s play.

      JK’s first priority is to qualify for the World Cup.

      So in those “in between” friendlies JK will use them to serve the short term goal of qualification and the long term goal of moving on to a more attractive style.

      And that means, like all experiments, things don’t always turn out as well as you like. But that is why you experiment and work on thigs in these exhibitions, to reduce the probability of screwing up as much as possible when it matters.

      In the game against Belgium for example, the team was exposed to the kind of pace, pressure and lethality that a team like Germany will also expose you to. Other than Mexico, no CONCACAF team can give you that lesson.

      The US players learned their lesson because nothing teaches you better than humiliating failure.

      They then applied that lesson to the Germany game i.e. they imposed their will first and made German react to them. Germany eventually came back to take control but by then the US had scored 4 goals.

      I read a lot about this victory being due to the fact that poor dumb JK finally gave up and figured out that he had to go back to the days of BB or even Lalas and Balboa scoring from the set piece, and Cobi Jones and Frankie running around, crashing into things all day long, good old US direct football Full disclosure, Frankie Heydude remains by some distance, my favorite all time USMNT player.

      Only this reversion to the good old days makes no sense because none of the important US players were really part of that. And to the extent that they were they have all since moved on.

      Mikey, Jones, Jozy, Deuce, etc., etc., every player who was at RFK currently plays in a team that tries to play more of the possession oriented stuff JK has been trying to get these guys to do. Like what they just did.

      Well maybe not Cameron of Stoke but then he did not play did he?

      And JK himself played for a team that was a very physical, strong and direct yet very skilled and talented group, that German team that eventually won the 1990 World Cup. To me that German team is a bigger influence on JK’s team building than anything BB, a very fine manager and an even better human being, did. Especially when it comes to this business of not being afraid of anyone and thinking they were entitled to win every game.

      JK was brought in to transition the USMNT to a completely different mindset.

      You aren’t going to get there by doing what you have always done. He said as much but you still don’t believe him.

      JK has been in charge for 27 games. Clint Dempsey, since he became a regular, averages 42 games per season.

      Which means, in EPL terms, JK has been in charge for about 65% of a full season. And of course, JK and his staff cannot spend anywhere near the amount of time with their guys that an AVB for example, gets to spend with Clint.

      So it’s just about time for some of the changes and concepts to finally start sinking in. Hopefully, what you saw at RFK is a start. I have my doubts but let’s hope the progression remains consistently onward and upward.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        lol, i usually don’t have a problem with long comments, but there’s no way anybody’s reading all of that. should’ve slept on that one. : )

    • biff says:

      LOOK, GUYS!!!!

      I am not saying we had great game because it was Germany’s C-Team. As I said, I think we could have given Germany’s A-Team a good game on Sunday and possibly have won.

      BUT: That was Germany’s C team no matter what you say. There were a few B-Team players, but they were mostly offensive players like Podolski, (35-year-old) Klose, Schurle. The defense was all C-Team, inlcuding Ter Stegen, not to mention Wollscheid who plays with Chandler at Nurnberg and three from Hamburg, Jansen, Aogo and Westermann (who did score and powerful header and had chances years ago to earn a spot on the German team and was never able to hold it. The only B-Team defender was Mertesacker.

      I can almost guarantee that most of the defenders on this German roster will not be back for a long, long time, if at all. Just wait until the next roster comes out and compare that roster with that one. One exception would be Lars Bender, who started at right back but is a mid-fielder at the club level and proabably will be back for Jogi Low as a midfielder.

      • Dennis says:

        More importantly, next few teams the US plays will not employ low pressure. It was a failed tactic by the Germans. The German forwards and midfielders (even those in evidence on Sunday) are more than capable of pressing the US backs into needless turnovers and certainly capable of upsetting the service provided by Bradley and Jones.
        Against higher pressure, the US would not have looked so comfortable and Germany would have created more chances than they did (of course finishing was a problem in the first half for Germany, but as they demonstrated in the 2nd half, more chances eventually = more goals).

  15. Mig says:

    Young Josmer had a really, really good game. Similar to the team’s win, we can’t trivialize his day because it was a soft, flat German side. It was STILL a German side. The kid is a handful when he is involved and whether his maddening absences are due to his own mind, the team around him, or most like a blend of both, yesterday he was a wrecking ball.

    I criticize him often enough or at least ask questions about his work ethic but I want him to succeed as much as any other US fan. Yesterday made me very happy to be ‘proven wrong’

  16. how pumped were you that brad evans had a solid game? still prefer Fabian in the back attacking but we will figure out our defense…someday.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I’d much rather have some players stepping up than people falling on their face. And I’d rather see that than Parkhurst or some of the other options thrown around.

    • sammysounder says:

      Brad did well. He should have followed up stronger on the third goal, but all-in-all was very solid.

      He might not be a starter, but he’s making a good case to be included at the end of the bench as a utility man.

      • Dennis says:

        Agreed Evans played well. His play makes me more comfortable that we have a replacement for Dolo whose age, while not slowing him perceptibly, is a concern as injuries take ever longer to recover from. Professional soccer is a rugged sport, little and not so little injuries happen all the time, and resilience falls off with age.

  17. ATX_Colin says:

    Whats up with Fabians injury status? I hope he is good to go for Jamiaca. I liked him at LW.

  18. Mike in Missouri says:

    Please don’t ever start an article 3 days before WCQers with “Jozy breaks” again. Bout had a heart attack.

  19. downintexas says:

    Three things that I think influenced this goal. (indirectly)
    1. M Bradley on the field. The whole team plays with more confidence.
    2. Besler and Gonzo in the back. I feel that the team has confidence in those two after there last two wc qual. (I know they are green and still mistake prone)
    3. Having F. Johnson play LM.

  20. Vic says:

    I’ve been a frequent Jozy hater on these boards. But yesterday he had a fabulous game all around. Granted its only one game. However, as a US fan I hope he continues this type of performance. As far a scoring goes we have Dempsey then everyone else. We really need someone to step up the scoring. If Jozy does it then its great.

  21. BUD says:

    How long have we been waiting to see this written? Thankfully, the time has come. I bet Ives is reliefed, Jozy has been his pick to score for like a year + now.

  22. Scott e Dio93 says:

    The midfield had more control this game than previous games, reason why Altidore was so damn good! Johnson and Zusi split German defenders and pressure German, while Jones and Bradley control the tempo and won balls.

    • richd3668 says:

      Agree 100% Service from the midfield, central or wing, critical in two of the four goals.

  23. Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    Great game for Jozy. He get’s the glory but the team made that goal happen.

    Distribution from the back +
    Patient and intelligent dribble +
    a One Timed “inch perfect” cross +
    a One Timed “lash” of the ball =

    The BEST USMNT goal since the Scotland game last June!

  24. Mark says:

    I thought Jozy had a good game, but nothing stellar.

    The US media always wants to make heroes out of sports figures and the fact that he buried a nice goal from a perfectly served ball from Zusi is good. But, you still can’t ignore the fact that his game minutes to goal scoring ratio the worst of any active striker on the team.

    I actually had hoped that Herculez and Boyd would have gotten more minutes.

    Eddie Johnson is looking better all the time as well. He can really take a guy on and win. Jozy cannot.

    • Judging Amy says:

      Boyd has looked very poor in the minutes he’s gotten the last two games.

      Gomez is aging. JK loves him. He must’ve seen something in practice to sit him. Maybe injury. Herc’s workrate is amazing, but for the more attack oriented style JK is implementing, I think we’re going to see FJ on the wing instead of him. As a striker, Herc is a great finisher but limited everywhere else.

      Eddie Johnson is playing about the same as he’s always played. Good speed, boneheaded decision-making, technical inability to finish plays. He rarely “takes on the guy and wins” at the intl level. His stepovers are usually fruitless but give a flash look at what could be. The dude is useful but mediocre. At 29 he’s more likely than not hit his ceiling and once his speed goes, that’s it.

      Look back at the last two games and point out the specific instances where EJ beat a man off the dribble.

    • Dennis says:

      Agree that EJ (and FJ for that matter) do seem better suited for dribbling at defenders. Jozy did what you expect a good striker to do and he did it well. Boyd, not so much, and Gomez has always had streaks of looking great and not so great (in MLS, Mexico and for the USMNT).
      The real difference in this game was Altidore actually received service that found hi9m before he was surrounded by 3 defenders (In the Belgium game, the one decent ball to him in front of the net he was surrounded by 3 defenders, it was Alexi Lalas silly comment that that was a great chance that should have been buried that got everyone up in arms about Jozy. One chance! Yes it was a half-chance and a better first touch (while being “bumped”) might have resulted in a goal, but implying, like Lalas did, that it was a poor play on Jozy’s part was not only wrong, it was unfair and consistent with Lalas’ misunderstanding of the game. Watch when any other commentator is on TV with him, they consistently correct Lalas’ statements, but since they are more tactful than I am, they do not start, like I would with “That’s wrong Alexi, here is what really happened, …”

    • BK says:

      Ives is in love with Jozy Altidore. Should not come as a surprise.

  25. TomG says:

    I think you might be wearing hater shades because you missed a ton of great stuff. I will recount for you. Fantastic game by Jozy. Every pundit is giving him top marks. Great finish, great run to fake Mertesacker near post then veer to the middle at the exact right moment, great hold up play in general and specifically to start the attack on his goal, great high pressure with JJ and Zusi to force the own goal, great a$$ist on the scoop cross to Deuce after the great reel in of the JJ ball. Great stuff. He’s been doing a lot of this with his club and also with USMNT since he was left off the roster last year. He just has been a little inconsistent and out of synch with USMNT. Hopefully his consistency will continue.

    • Judging Amy says:

      The hold up and combination play of Jozy was much improved from the poor touches and mis-hits in the Belgium game. He seemed more comfortable playing the Ching/McBride holdup role and was still able to do the more skillful goal-facing stuff he seems to prefer.

      A lot of credit goes to JK’s possession oriented gameplan that saw the whole team passing and moving wonderfully. I actually think Jozy fits that kind of gameplan better once he settles in than the less athletic, slower, Gomez and the clumsy, less technical EJ.

      Jozy has clearly been off his game for the Nats and I think that’s part of why the offense has been sputtering. But I think perhaps contrary to popular opinion, JK’s system is well suited to Jozy’s strengths when he’s on his game. He’s the only striker physical enough for proper hold up and still technical enough to combine with Clint and the rest of the midfield.

      During workhorse grind battles in CONCACAF, maybe you sub in Gomez if Jozy can’t get it together. But the ideal squad and gameplan against World Cup level comp has Jozy in to play the beautiful style of ball the Nats played yesterday.

      The great movement and possession game we saw yesterday is what Klinsmann has been working toward.

      • TomG says:

        I agree that a hold up player that can also play combinations, high pressure, and finish in different ways would be an invaluable addition to USMNT. I think that, ideally, JK would like to play triangles and build the play slowly from the back with a short passing style, however I don’t think we have enough technical players to consistently play that style so someone who can hold the ball up as an outlet is invaluable. We saw the first goal actually begin with Jozy holding the ball up near midfield and THEN become a sophisticated series of passes on the ground, making it’s way out to the wing then back inside for the volley. That might be the paradigm we’re going to need to use. Not mainly up the middle of the field, not mainly route 1, not mainly out on the wings, but opportunistically taking what’s there and mixing together different modalities.

  26. 2tone says:

    Per US soccer, Fabian Johnson will be good to go against Jamaica.

  27. Guest says:

    They should keep the centennial crest as their official crest, it looks much better than the one they’ve been wearing over the last couple years.

  28. Brett says:

    I still think Jozy tires too quickly to be a top forward. When he’s on, he’s got all the tools.

    • Rami says:

      Its funny though because he almost never came out in the Dutch League. Heat a factor maybe? Its a good question.

  29. Barack Obama says:

    Josmier Altidore for VP.