SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore

Photo by John Todd/ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

SANDY, Utah– People will remember the goal, the oh-so-important game-winning finish that helped the U.S. Men’s National Team defeat Honduras on Tuesday night, but there was so much more to Jozy Altidore’s performance, a stellar outing that was the perfect cap to an outstanding run of matches for the young striker.

Altidore pressed Honduras defensively, looked to combine with his teammates at every opportunity, made himself available in the penalty area on multiple occasions, and came close to scoring on a few occasions.

Altidore’s effort helped set the tone for a strong second-half surge for the Americans, who rode Altidore’s goal to an ugly, but well-earned 1-0 victory in a performance that earned Altidore SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors.

Altidore beat out a strong field of candidates for the designation that included Fabian Johnson and Michael Bradley, who both turned in strong efforts as well.

What did you think of Altidore’s night at Rio Tinto Stadium? What player did you consider the USMNT Man of the Match?

Cast your vote after the jump:

  • Jozy Altidore
  • Michael Bradley
  • Fabian Johnson
  • Graham Zusi
  • Clint Dempsey
  • Matt Besler

Who did you vote for? What player surprised you the most on Tuesday?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

  1. Vagabond says:

    It doesn’t matter now but Altidore’s goal should have been called offside. The replay clearly shows Zusi flicking the ball onto Fabian Johnson, who is clearly in an offside position at that point of his run. Very difficult call for the linesman to get right as in real-time and from that angle it looked like Zusi played the dummy. But he didn’t. Thems the breaks.

    • SanFran415 says:

      Not nearly as bad a miss as the Honduran player stopping a goal with his hand clear as day and escaping without a call.

    • Nate says:

      Where is that replay? The only ones I’ve seen are inconclusive. Do you have a link?

        • wandmdave says:

          Maybe I’m blind but I can’t tell from that clip or USsoccer’s whether he touched it or not. In your link you see it from across the field and when it cuts to the best angle the ball is already passed him. You can only infer what happened.

          If he did touch it, then FJ was offsides like you say though.

        • wandmdave says:

          Maybe I’m blind but I can’t tell from that clip or USsoccer’s whether he touched it or not. In your link you see it from across the field and when it cuts to the best angle the ball is already pa$$ed him. You can only infer what happened.

          If he did touch it, then FJ was offsides like you say though.

      • Air Jordanz says:

        Not inconclusive at all. He nods the ball goalward into his arm. He didn’t intend to handle the ball, but his arm was in a raise, “unnatural” position. It’s a clear cut penalty.

    • TD says:

      Disagree. When I first saw the goal, I asked myself how was Fabian Johnson on side because he was well in behind the two nearest Honduran defenders. But on the replay, you will see a Honduran player barely in the frame at the bottom who is keeping everyone on side. He is probably 45 yards away from the action, so it was a bad error by that player.

      • Vagabond says:

        Disagree with your disagreement. Link above. Draw your own conclusions. Only opinion that matters already ruled.

      • Brett says:

        I don’t see this extra Honduran.

        When Zusi gets a touch on the ball, and he definitely does slide it with the outside of his boot, Fabian is about a half-body offside. But the touch is so subtle and he is in so much traffic that it would have been very hard for the linesman to see it. At full speed it looked like Zusi played a perfect dummy, opening the acres of space that allowed Fabian to collect the ball and pick his head up to find Jozy.

        I’m not even sure Zusi’s touch was vital to the goal, but his positioning was.

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Too close to call. Not even sure Zusi didn’t just dummy on that play and let the ball roll through to Fabian.

      • John says:

        If he does happen to touch it, the ball appears to keep the same direction and pace making it an impossible call from where the linesman is.

    • John says:

      If you go frame by frame it looks to me like the last defender marking Jozy, just inside the box is keeping Fabian just onside.

    • seamus says:

      Doesn’t Zusi dummy it?

      • Brett says:

        Watch the replay that Vagabond posted. It shows a reverse angle and you can see Zusi getting a little redirection on the ball, slowing it down a bit.

        • beachbum says:

          oh yes, it’s hard to see but I think you’re right. Even then it’s a darn close call if FJ was on or off

        • seamus says:

          OK thanks, Brett. Couldn’t quite tell and still can’t to be honest but I’ll take your word for it. FabJ looks off by a hair if Zusi touches it, but tough call either way. Probably a bit of luck there. This stuff usually evens out.

  2. SanFran415 says:

    Sorry, can’t agree with Jozy. He took his shot well and held up well–no doubt–but the service Graham Zusi was providing was dare I say it–Beckhamesque.

    His p@ssing is seriously, seriously underrated. His crosses are certainly the best I remember ever seeing from a US player. If you think Donovan is offering more than Zusi–you’ve gone mad. How many goals is Zusi going to create? I believe he has the @ssist on 3 of Jozy’s 4 (hockey @ssist in today’s match as it was his vision to push the ball quickly out wide to Johnson on the break).

    • ec says:

      Eh, Zusi mis-hit a lot of balls in the first half. He’s still more than earning his starting place, and I don’t think anyone is doubting the contribution of his service, but that was far from flawless service.

      • SanFran415 says:

        Everyone mis-hit balls in the first half.

        The field was awful. Seriously did they just lay down sod on a concrete floor?

        • Dont Care says:

          Always complaining about the field smh

          • SanFran415 says:

            It was clearly a problem for both teams. It took our guys an entire half to adjust to the fact that the ball was just flying all over and bouncing like a futsal ball.

            • Why says:

              Why are we still hearing about fields? The grass at the stadium was pristine and beautiful, not to mention it certainly wasn’t placed last week. I would say you find something new to complain about

            • conrad says:

              futsal balls don’t bounce.

        • PD says:

          While I agree that it took awhile to find his rhythm and that once he did he was great, Zusi deserved props, not MOTM.

          Altidore gave his most complete performance in a US shirt last night, still making runs in the 93rd minute. Everything that he has ever been criticized for in this forum was simply nowhere to be found last night. Many aspects of the role he is being asked to play are not sexy and happen away from the ball, but if you make a point yo watch his off the ball work, you’ll see.

        • MLSsnob says:

          Yeah, what was going on with the field? For a while I thought it was the altitude that was the reason as our players seemed to be sailing the cross field passes and passes over the top, but the fields was also playing very hard. It looks like on HD that it was pristine and I couldn’t see any noticeable flaws, can someone shed light on this situation?

        • Rabbit says:

          Everyone didn’t mis-hit balls. Zusi mis-hit balls. More than anyone else, I think, in the first half.

          I still like the guy, but he wasn’t MOTM.

        • bryan says:

          come on man, the field was perfect.

    • Drew says:

      Am I the only one who isn’t impressed with Zusi? How many times a game do his crosses either go too short or way over everyone’s head? He still hasn’t shown any indication he can score at this level. He has his moments but I still think he’s frustrating to watch. Fabian at lb had more service on offense than Zusi for the first 60 mins.

      • mack says:

        even with bad service from the run of play in the first half he still sent in a free kick that brad evans wasn’t able to score on from point blank range. I think the best thing about his game today is that he showed he can also play on the left meaning it might not have to be Donovan or zusi…but both can be out there. he combined really well with FJ as most of our attack came from that side and his best moments from the run of play all came from that side tonight including a left footed cross that a ide open Dempsey wasn’t able to convert. I cant think of anyone who created more scoring chances tonight or was at least involved in more.

      • AK48 says:

        No, you’re not. Especially playing on the left. He adds no joy in terms of speed and width on the flank, which is where this team might eventually discover the meaning of it all.

      • Brett says:

        I like his vision and positioning, but he does tend to provide wayward balls unless he is on his better foot and has a lot of space.

        • MLSsnob says:

          Who would you rather have, Donovan or Zusi? I’d take Donovan.

          • mack says:

            Don’t understand why you can’t have both. Our other wide players dissapear against good teams

          • SanFran415 says:

            Today?

            Zusi every day and Sunday. Donovan has been quite poor lately.

            Zusi has an @ssist in like 3 of the last 5 games.

            • beachbum says:

              LD has not been quite poor lately…that is simply false.

              and I like Zusi…can’t see LD overtaking him for the right flank spot

          • Falsify says:

            We can have both.

          • Brett says:

            I would love to try Zusi at right back and Donovan ahead of him as the right prong of the trident behind Jozy.

            Put Fabian on the left prong, Dempsey in the middle, Bradley/Cameron behind them, and Beasley at left back.

      • alocksley says:

        I agree, but the problem is he is played out of position for the US. He is better in a central position. He just does not have the pace or trickery needed to be an effective winger.

      • Joamiq says:

        I can’t say I’m bowled over by him, but who do we have that can provide better service from the wing right now?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      mentioned in the other post:

      zusi’s set-piece service is stellar, and last night was no exception.

      however, i think he had an off night in the run-of-play. you mention the field condition below–it seemed zusi had a harder time than most adjusting to it.

      • Falsify says:

        Zusi created chances for what could have been 3 or 4 goals. The dummy he set up was class. However I think Altidore out performed him the entire match. They both played very well.

        Zusi haters gon hate

    • Rabbit says:

      I do not understand the people hyping up Zusi as MOTM. In the first half, he clearly looked discombobulated, as though he were shaking off some rust. He had a number of errant passes that led to turnovers, and to me he looked like one of the bigger liabilities for the U.S. side at that point.

      Yes, he settled into the match. But the first half miscues alone are too much for me to overcome to even consider him for MOTM. Maybe if he had some something extraordinary in the second half, like score a goal.

    • Air Jordanz says:

      Donovan should earn his place starting on the left wing after a solid showing at the Gold Cup. I don’t see how Zusi hasn’t cemented his place on the right side of MF.

      I doubt Shea will be getting enough club PT by September or October to earn the spot, and EJ or DMB are competent enough backups.

  3. Neruda says:

    It’s between Jozy and Zusi. It should be noted that Jozy’s other good look at goal (deflected off keeper for US corner), the kind he lives on at AZ was all because of that beauty of a pass by Cameron late in the game. Cameron keeps it simple in midfield and takes appropriate risks at the right time.

    Also note Brad Davis was great as a sub almost netting a goal himself.

  4. tony says:

    Yeah Jozy!

  5. OB Rick says:

    MB was awesome tonight. 2nd best was FJ.

    Zusi was actually a bit off tonight.

  6. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Can’t argue with Jozy getting the nod after scoring the lone goal. I might have leaned towards MB, without him we’re a shambles. I don’t know how Deuce makes the list based on his overall sleepy play, a handful of poorly taken opportunities and one nice pass…

  7. BigBlueAL says:

    I guess Im in the minority but I didnt think Zusi was that great tonight. Thought his service tonight was pretty poor for the most part.

    He has earned his starting spot though, would love to see Zusi and LD starting wide with FJ at LB.

  8. Nihal Kattar says:

    I think Everton would be a perfect fit for Altidore. They desperately need a striker.

  9. Paul says:

    There were no true outstanding performances in this rather ugly, haphazard display of soccer. By default, we tend to lean toward a goalscorer for MOTM, or other major offensive contributor. But he generated few quality chances in this game, and the midfield often lost possession.

    I felt Besler was quite solid in this game. Strong, effective defense, great awareness and positioning, timely tackles and distributed well out of the back. It is because of his growth in these WCQ and friendlies that Cameron finds himself on the pine this spring, which is a surprise to me.

    I’ll again give kudos to JK. I had assumed Cameron would replace Evans in the back, but the defense earned the shutout. Everyone in his lineup was effective in playing two-way soccer against Honduras, and earned the win as a unit. Three games, nine points. Nice work.

    • Falsify says:

      Besler got burned pretty bad by Nahar on the right side on one of the plays. Thank the lord for Tim Howard.

    • Air Jordanz says:

      Before heading to Stoke and being converted into a fullback out of necessity, Cameron hadn’t played there professionally before. Let’s remember that he played Dmid for Stoke for the first half of their season.

      From the few matches I saw, he never excelled at RB for Stoke, nor did he do so well at RB for the US.

      I’m a big fan of Cameron, but he needs to be played centrally, whether in defensive midfield or central defense.

      • Luke says:

        Why has no one brought up pairing Besler and Cameron at center back. Aside from the Mexico game, Gonzo has looked shaky. He reminds me alot of Gooch. The good and the bad. Tall, big, not that fast and but an intimidating presence, especially in the air. He just doesn’t seem to offer much in passing or ball handling skills. I almost pulled my hair out when he let Najar dribble inside the 18 and rip a shot. I know he was playing the cross, but man you can’t let someone get a point black rip on goal. Looked like Timmy gave him an ear full after the play.

  10. elgringorico says:

    what teams are showing interest in jozy anyways?

    • Falsify says:

      Speculation at this point. My hopes are that he goes to a big 4 club in one of the major leagues.

      • Brett says:

        lol… At least you have realistic expectations.

        We had all better hope this doesn’t happen. We have an in-form Jozy because he gets regular minutes. If he goes to a big club he will get way less playing time.

        • beachbum says:

          and don’t forget we’re now playing to his strengths tactically…which we were NOT doing before

          it’s weird to me how under the radar that fact is. whatever

        • Bobb says:

          It is realistic, that’s what Schalke are and we know they’re interested.

  11. DC Josh says:

    30 goals out of 31 games for the US in 2013 and AZ Alkmaar last season. That’s very impressive. Jozy has been on a tear for the last 10 months.

    I can’t wait to see where he goes next season. I am hoping La Liga or the Bundesliga where he will be the 1st or 2nd striker. The Premier League has become third-rate to those leagues.

    • Brett says:

      No no no no no no no no no. Why are people so obsessed with him hopping countries every year? The guy is in good form because he’s been playing regularly for his club and his confidence is soaring. Why jeopardize that just so you can say he plays in this league or that league?

      • MLSsnob says:

        He’s leaving, no question about it. AZ want to cash in while his stock his high. You can’t change that fact, sorry. Next is to try and find the best fit for him.

      • DC Josh says:

        I don’t care what team he plays on, but I do want him to play in a tougher league. He has obviously proven himself in the Dutch league. Now he needs to continue his growth by moving to a better league.

        You could say the same for any American player who has moved to a tougher league (Howard, Bradley, Dempsey, etc.). These guys want to challenge themselves against the best, not sit around amidst mediocrity.

    • james says:

      First of all, la liga is a two team league and bundesliga will now be a one team league very soon. EPL or even ligue 1 would be great fits for him. EPL would probably be best because it is the most competitive.

      And whoever said big 4 earlier is crazy. He is good, but not world class. He wouldnt break the starting lineup at a big 4.

      The teams I would like to see him with (bc he would get a lot of playing time) would be lyon, everton, newcastle, sunderland, or swansea.

  12. Mig says:

    Nice goal for Jozy and he occasionally had meaningful pressure but utterly, totally disappeared for long chunks of time (and believe me I was looking for him). A good game but certainly not great.

    It was a good performance but as OB Rick and christhebassplayer noted, it was Bradley that drove this game and without him we are often lost. For me he was MOMT.

  13. Mig says:

    Nice goal for Jozy and he occasionally had meaningful pressure but utterly, totally disappeared for long chunks of time (and believe me I was looking for him). A good game but certainly not great.

    It was a good performance but as OB Rick and christheba$$player noted, it was Bradley that drove this game and without him we are often lost. For me he was MOMT.

    • Joe says:

      MB is our talisman, unbelievable work rate. I love how he goes balls to the wall with the ball, just a locomotive of pain and direction.

      That said, Josmer has become indefatigable with his work rate. He is trying to make the runs and connect for the killer pass but he also is tracking back like a madman on defense even though he ideally wouldn’t need to. MOTM for me, his goal is a just reward for him taking all of the criticism – some just, some absurd – and just launching himself onto an arc to reach a new pantheon for US players. I say arc because anything can happen but signs are now pointing to it being an inevitability.

    • Dennis says:

      Forwards do disappear for long stretches in games. Even Messi who some think is god-like or Maradonna have long stretches where they seem to be sleeping through the game. (I suppose you could argue that Balloteli is always fighting, but I’m not sure that is always positive either.) Dempsey can be faulted for the same. That does not take away from the great things he did do.
      But, I agree Bradley was the most consistent player for the US. Zusi and F. Johnson also had their moments. Without Bradley’s work the US probably would not have prevailed. Still, strikers always seem to get the credit and so it is.

  14. John says:

    Bradley gets the nod in this one for me, but it was a poor US performance. We were out of sync for the first 60 minutes. Bradley made up for several errors and poor play from JJ. I really wish that Klinsy would have gone with Cameron instead of JJ in the middle. Cameron plays very solid in the middle and allows Bradley to move up the field more. Jones tends to want to move up, but he’s not nearly as decisive or effective at Bradley when doing so.

    The worst part from Jones IMHO is his passing in the middle, when he hesitates and waits until he has to pass only to send a weak pass to another player under pressure. Time and again this leads to a turn-over at midfield and a break for the other team. This threw off the play for the US throughout the entire first half several times and allowed Honduras to look more dangerous than they really were. Fortunately our defense was able to hold up to the fast breaks.

  15. Brett says:

    Fabian was MOTM for me. Dangerous going forward all day and did a lot of running to recover in defense. He is the important player on the left, not Beasley.

    • Joe says:

      This I can agree with. If you don’t go Jozy, FJ is just as necessary as Bradley. What a revelation, thank you BB for finding and pursuing him.

  16. Javier says:

    I don’t know that Jozy deserved MOTM, but he played well. I think he was letting the Hondurans get to him and it showed in some of the fouls he committed. That said he scored the winning goal and I can’t really say anyone stood out.

    I think the defense did well. I think Gonzalez and Besler play well together. I know Brad Evans isn’t a natural defender but in the games I’ve seen him he looks good. I don’t know if he’s on the provisional roster for the Gold Cup but it might be good to see him in that tournament.

    I prefer Geoff Cameron in the middle with Michael Bradley more that Jermaine Jones. I think Cameron is a better passer and better defender then Jones. I also think he provides better cover as a defensive midfielder so Bradley can forward.

    Zusi had a bad first half. I know there are the Donovan haters that would rather the U.S. play a man down than bring in Donovan but he is by far a better player than Zusi. Donovan handles the ball better, he’s reads the game quicker, his passes are sharper, and he seems to play on a higher level than Zusi. Zusi is good in that he’s got speed and he can cross the ball,but I’m not sure what else he brings. Zusi might be the next anointed great player that some people seem to feel he is, but he’s not there yet. I’ve yet to see a game where he’s really impressed me. I’m not saying he’s a bad player. I just don’t believe he deserves all the praise heaped on him as though he were a special player. He’s not. He’s good, not great. And I honestly don’t believe he’s a better player than Donovan.

  17. Travis is Miami says:

    In my opinion the questions should always be: “Did anyone do anything to make you not want to vote for Micheal Bradley as Man of the Match?” he’s clearly the US’ best and most consistent player. when giving the MOTM to someone else it can usually be argued that MB was better but it gets boring giving it to him every game. I

  18. dabes2 says:

    For me has to be either Bradley or Fab Johnson.

    Anyone else a little bit excited by the prospect of Donovan regaining form and playing a tuck in left sided midfielder w/ Johnson as the fullback on that side.

  19. Raymon says:

    My kid asked me about Jozy’s national anthem pose (one of these guys is not like the other). What is the answer? I just said I dont know why he does what he does.

    • Brett says:

      It might be because he learned, like I did, that you put your hand over your heart when you say the Pledge of Allegiance, not when the national anthem is being played.

      I was always taught to stand at attention and remove any headwear during the anthem. I’m honestly not sure why the rest of the team does the hand over heart thing, but Jozy is not violating any unspoken rule. I’d honestly be more upset that more people don’t sing along.

      • Raymon says:

        Yep, thanks. Thats a good possible explanation. I think the players dont sing because sometimes the mic is hot and they dont want to be caught singing on TV. I have heard players sing (Mexican players sing with heart, but not on key!) and most of the time I would rather the mic be off.

      • wandmdave says:

        +1

      • Rabbit says:

        Yeah, and most of the fans in the stands don’t put their hand over their heart either. Nor does Klinsi. Nor, I’d be willing to bet, do most of us watching the game on TV.

        • Joe says:

          But can we all agree to take your damn hat off? I get look in the Timbers Army for telling folks to have some damn respect. They look at me like a 30 year old curmudgeon…and some of these people are in their 40s or 50s for Christ sakes!

          • Joamiq says:

            Hey man, for some of us, it’s far more respectful to keep our hair covered at all times

        • Greg says:

          Klinsman is German

      • Bobb says:

        Maybe it has to do with his religion (Jehovahs Witness)? I don’t know much about them but I think they’re very much “no fun allowed” types…

    • evoluciens says:

      Hes address this many times…his heart lies with haiti ..the nation where his parents was born…you can look it up..he always says it “my head is here but my heart is in haiti”

  20. AcidBurn says:

    There were several times last night where it looked like the US was panicking in their own end, MB90 gets the ball, takes a small dribble, turns away from pressure, and in two seconds the whole team is reset and calmly moving upfield. Wow.

  21. beachbum says:

    that’s a great picture

  22. beachbum says:

    Jozy, FJ and MB doing serious work out there…give it to all 3 I say

  23. bryan says:

    idk why some people are acting like this was an ugly game. we had 62% possession (the LARGE majority in our own half according to the heatmap on MLS Chalkboard), put up 13 shots, 5 on target, 82% passing accuracy, and Howard only had to make 1 save and 2 punches. their keeper had 4 saves.

    with better finishing, we have a bigger scoreline. yes, the tempo was slower, but that was expected given how hot it was and the altitude.

  24. Joamiq says:

    I give it to MB by a hair. He was the only player who was consistently good all game long. Jozy wasn’t bad in the first half, but he wasn’t quite as involved. Zusi’s second half was a blinder and I’d give it to him if his first half wasn’t so poor.

    • zeus says:

      “I give it to MB by a hair.”

      That’s the one criterion on which MB cannot possibly win. A fingernail? Sure. An eyelash? Sure. A hair? That one goes to Jozy.