Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Jozy Altidore of Sunderland misses an open goal

Photo by Kieran McManus/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The final round of 2013 matches in England was a largely forgettable one for the Americans Abroad.

Only seven players saw time in their respective games this weekend and the one who drew the most attention was Jozy Altidore, though not for positive reasons. Altidore started and went the distance for Sunderland in their clash with Cardiff City, but missed a golden opportunity to score on a rebound from close range. That could have proved costly for Altidore and the Black Cats, but they rallied late to pick up a 2-2 draw that left them two points from safety.

Danny Williams and Reading also had a less-than-ideal ending to 2013. The Royals were handed a humbling 3-0 defeat by Middlesbrough on Sunday, a result that extended their losing streak to three games and dropped them to ninth place in the Championship. Williams played the complete 90 minutes.

Eric Lichaj was the one real exception. The versatile fullback started and went the distance for Nottingham Forest in a 2-1 home win against Leeds United on Sunday. Lichaj and the Reds are now in fifth place in the England’s second division with 39 points.

Another noteworthy performance came in that same game via Gboly Ariyibi. The 18-year-old winger, who recently signed a short-term deal with Leeds, made his professional debut by coming off the bench and playing 29 minutes in the Whites’ defeat.

Here is how the Americans Abroad performed during the final weekend of 2013:

ENGLAND

Premiership

  • Tim Howard did not dress in Everton’s 2-1 win vs. Southampton on Sunday. He was serving a suspension.
  • Jozy Altidore started and played 90 minutes in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw vs. Cardiff City on Saturday.
  • Geoff Cameron started and played 90 minutes in Stoke City’s 3-0 loss vs. Tottenham on Sunday.
  • Brek Shea did not dress for Stoke City.
  • Maurice Edu did not dress for Stoke City.
  • Brad Guzan started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw vs. Swansea City on Saturday.
  • Brad Friedel dressed but did not play in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-0 win vs. Stoke City on Sunday.
  • Cody Cropper did not dress in Southampton’s 2-1 loss vs. Everton on Sunday. He is recovering from an injury.

Championship

  • Jonathan Spector did not dress in Birmingham City’s 3-2 win vs. Blackburn Rovers on Sunday. He is recovering from a thigh injury.
  • Tim Ream started and played 90 minutes in Bolton Wanderers’ 5-3 loss vs. Leicester City on Sunday.
  • Stuart Holden did not dress for Bolton Wanderers. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Zak Whitbread dressed but did not play in Derby County’s 2-1 win vs. Barnsley on Sunday.
  • Eric Lichaj started and played 90 minutes in Nottingham Forest’s 2-1 win vs. Leeds United on Sunday.
  • Danny Williams started and played 90 minutes in Reading’s 3-0 loss vs. Middlesbrough on Sunday.
  • Oguchi Onyewu did not dress in Queens Park Rangers’ 0-0 draw vs. Watford on Sunday.
  • Duane Holmes came off the bench and played 13 minutes in Huddersfield Town’s 5-1 win vs. Yeovil Town on Sunday.
  • Gboly Ariyibi came off the bench and played 29 minutes in Leeds United’s 2-1 loss vs. Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

—–

What do you think of these performances? Think Altidore will have a better second half of the season? Expecting Lichaj to continue to perform for Nottingham?

Share your thoughts below.

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39 Responses to Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

  1. Pingback: Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind | Octo-Blog

  2. Lol says:

    Brian McDermott on Gyboly Ariybi

    link to m.youtube.com

    Gyboly Aribiybi’s own Highlight reel from his time at Southamptons academy

    link to m.youtube.com

  3. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Jozy Smh….

  4. Scott e Dio93 says:

    What I worried about start to happend to Altidore.

  5. Good Jeremy says:

    Brutal.
    To the MLS critics, watch as MLS and smaller league players bail these guys out next summer

  6. Bob34 says:

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Altidore but that .gif is just wrong. It’s in slow mo and it makes it look like Altidore had much more of an opportunity than he really did. Also, how did Williams & Lichaj really play? Wins & Losses aren’t necessarily indicative of their individual performances although the article makes it sound like it does.

    • Kingsly Alexander says:

      Well they don’t really watch the games. Do you expect them to watch and scout ever championship game? You have to search out that sorta stuff for yourself in match reports and in fan forums

      • Bob34 says:

        “You have to search out that sorta stuff for yourself in match reports and in fan forums” Really? What’s this site for?

        If you’re going to report (inject narrative) on something, you should have 1/2 a clue on what you’re reporting otherwise just leave it as;

        “■Eric Lichaj started and played 90 minutes in Nottingham Forest’s 2-1 win vs. Leeds United on Sunday.

        ■Danny Williams started and played 90 minutes in Reading’s 3-0 loss vs. Middlesbrough on Sunday.”

        • Scweeb says:

          I agree for what i am paying for this site i want them to put more research into this. Come one put my money to work and give me more information.

          • Bob34 says:

            OK, you’re right. SInce I don’t have to pay anything, I should expect shoddy analysis based on a .gif that doesn’t run at full speed and narrative on other games that may’ve not even been watched. Yup, that makes sense. Yes, I do realize, I don’t need to even come here…

  7. Brad says:

    He should have finished let’s see what Poyet has to say next match. I think Altidore should start but alongside Fletcher with Borini in support.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      eh. He’s missed a couple howlers in the last month and you can’t afford to miss those when your team can’t put the ball in. I don’t blame Poyet for pulling him and I won’t blame him for not starting him. You’ve got to put those away.

    • Bob says:

      Altidore’s problem is that he doesn’t hustle. Watch how Suarez or Rooney never quit on a ball, and always at press when they don’t have the ball. I am not saying he needs to be Rooney or Suarez, but how about being Hercules Gomez? Remember in one of the early qualifiers how Gomez ran down a ball going out for a goal kick and won a corner? We scored off the ensuing corner. It is that kind of effort that Altidore rarely gives. Go farther back to the Confed Cup final against Brazil. Near the end of the first half he quit on a ball because he assumed the defender would make a play. When the defender missed, the ball rolled across the goal, and he would have had a tap in if he hustled. Also, his movement off of the ball is terrible. He doesn’t seem to move to space, instead he drifts into areas filled with defenders. I want him to succeed, but it has been painful to watch.

      • Todd says:

        He has clearly regressed since going to a shitty team in a harder league.

      • Amru says:

        His off the ball movement is perfectly fine. You could see, especially in the second half when they brought fletcher into the game, that he did a good job of dropping into space and providing the midfielders with link up play. He also makes a lot runs into space to simply be ignored by his team mates.

        • Yep, agreed. His teammates don’t have much faith in him. Time and again, he’s in good areas but is not passed the ball.

          My hypothesis is if one were to look at a match analyzer, you’d find only one or two players who bother to pass to Jozy regularly. Missing sitters, no matter how easy or difficult to finish, will not inspire your teammates confidence.

  8. Micah says:

    Shea and Edu!
    SMH! -___-

  9. John says:

    So who has had the best season so far for Americans Abroad? My list would be.
    1. Kljestan, 7 league goals as a central midfielder, also a goal and assist in Champions league
    2. Johannsson, 11 league goals, helped get AZ out of there Europa league group
    3. Howard, pretty much just been Tim Howard
    4. Cameron, really advanced his play at right back and scored a Premier league goal
    5. Bradley, came back from the injury and scored a game winner, been getting starts on a club currently in a Champions league spot.
    Honorable mention Bedoya for his emergence with Nantes,

    • Conare says:

      Yes these 5 plus Bedoya and Guzan are the standouts. We would probably have had Brooks on that list too until a disastrous return from injury recently. I don’t think F. Johnson has hurt his cause any either. For a top ten I would go with:

      1. Bradley
      2. Howard
      3. Guzan
      4. Cameron
      5. Johansson
      6. Klejstan
      7. Bedoya
      8. Lichaj
      9. F. Johnson
      10. Tim Ream

  10. Nate Dollars says:

    in realtime, that jozy miss was not bad. it was split-second timing off a weird angle, and it would’ve been impressive/lucky if he had been able to turn it in.

    that said, sunderland is so bad, it’s pretty much jozy’s job to be perfect. he’s really only going to get maybe one or two half-chances a game, and if he doesn’t convert them, he’s going to be blamed (unfairly or not).

    • Dan in New York says:

      +1

    • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

      Well said.

      Will be interesting to see what they do with Connor Wickham when his loan is up here in a couple days. Sunderland need all the help they can get, especially when it comes to scoring goals. And while I can’t say I watch the Championship on the regular, from the little I have seen it seems like Wickham has been playing pretty well for Sheffield Wednesday. Considering he’s young AND English, the pressure will be on from the fans to get him on the field if he doesn’t get sent back out on loan.

      Regardless of Jozy’s goal scoring issues, I still think Sunderland are at their best with Fletcher up top and Jozy playing underneath him in a 4-4-1-1. Here’s to hoping they can pull it together and avoid the drop.

      • Conare says:

        Jozy definitely had a bad game, but even so he had a couple brilliant cut-open-the-whole defense type passes as well. Not seeing that from anyone else on Sunderland with the exception of that one pass in to Fletcher that he scored on.

  11. Annelid Gustator says:

    “that said, sunderland is so bad, it’s pretty much jozy’s job to be perfect. he’s really only going to get maybe one or two half-chances a game, and if he doesn’t convert them, he’s going to be blamed (unfairly or not).”

    Pretty much. Well said.

  12. Larry says:

    Certain players are made for certain teams. Jozy Altidore did fit in well with AZ Alkmaar he has to great seasons there and then comes back to the Premier League and bombs because Sunderland sucks. Now with that being said he might be better off in the Netherlands, Belgium or France or Serie A. This is his second go around in the Premier League and it just might not be the right league for him. Its not his fault sometimes it is what it is. But he has whiffed on some shots about him not getting passed the ball take a look Borini has spotted Altidore open a few times and still tries to dribble around defenders. They do not trust Jozy.

    • beto says:

      since his early days at NYRB I (and everyone else) saw an EPL player. Jozy should be a great fit for the EPL’s style of play. Unfortunately his time at Hull and Sunderland are not helping that argument. Personally I think he has just picked two terrible teams and that if was playing for Swansea, Stoke, Newcastle, Fulham, etc things would be better.. at this point maybe im wrong and Jozy would be better suited outside of England..

    • Robert says:

      That is the fault of the manager and coaches. A player who doesn’t make the pass is reamed out or sits. Look at the good teams and that never happens. Dempsey got the same treatment at Spurs, but he refused to be ignored and eventually had a good season.

  13. Robert says:

    It’s ridiculous to think that was a sitter, as Jozy would have only been lucky to get a goal. Life doesn’t move in slow motion, so he would have to placed his foot in the right position prior to the rebound. You guys seem to think one can catch flies with chopsticks or dodge bullets from a computer program. Watch it a regular speed and rejoin reality. If you want to put him down, do it for the few flubbed passes or the times his positioning wasn’t good. I gave him a “5″ for the match, as I felt he was decent but made some mistakes. The rest of the team, save Fletcher, were 3-5.

  14. Been There says:

    It may not have been a sitter but definitely needs to be finished. He’s been pretty average but not terrible as some might suggest. Had some bright spots in the game Sunday, mostly with his passes. I still feel like his side to side movement around the box is poor and his hold up play is often poor and he gives the ball up too easily. Overall, there’s not much help from the rest of the team but if they’re gonna have any success offensively moving forward, they’re going to have to have Giaccherini, Fletcher and Altidore on the pitch at the same time.

  15. beto says:

    Cameron had about as good as a game as a defender in a 3-0 loss can have. Spurs had near 70% of the possession and were going right at the Stoke backline. He was playing left Center, passing and defending well..

    I still think he is our best RB, but if Cherundolo takes that job back (still a long shot) Omar & Besler have competition..

  16. Len says:

    With his large body, there seems to be an expectation that Jozy is a target forward when in fact he’s not especially good at that. IMO, his hold up play is average and he’s really not especially good in the air. I notice he no longer takes people on one on one which I believe he used to do. He is a pretty good short passer including in and around the box and I believe he can finish pretty well but Sunderland is so limited that as noted above his opportunities are very few. I also note that he goes to ground an awful lot but really doesn’t get a whole lot of calls which generally seems to increase his frustration level.

    • Joamiq says:

      This is 100% accurate. Because of his body type, his coaches try to play him as a target forward, when in reality he is best going at goal. He likes to combine with his teammates and go at defenders. You are absolutely correct that his holdup play is average and he’s not very good in the air.

  17. Jacques Coubelz says:

    Two things: A player of talent should be able to perform at any level and on any team. Evidently, Jozy doesn’t have the talent to excel in the EPL. A less league perhaps. Secondly, as a center forward who’s primary duty is to score goals, Jozy has as many goals [two] Sunderland’s Korean midfielder. That speaks volumes for Ki Sung-Yueng’s industry and finishing that Jozy should, perhaps, emulate.