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Altidore super in U.S. win over Germany
by Mike Woitalla, June 3rd, 2013 2:35AM

TAGS:  men's national team


[USA-GERMANY] For Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, it was a sweet victory over his former team. For U.S. Soccer, it marked a joyous 100th birthday celebration with 47,000 fans at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The USA scored three brilliant goals and were gifted a fourth -- a hilarious own goal by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen -- in its 4-3 friendly win over Germany. Clint Dempsey, the player who consistently delivers for the USA, scored two of them. But the man of the day was Jozy Altidore, whose play up front provides reason for optimism as the USA enters a three-game series of World Cup qualifiers.

Altidore scored his first professional goal at age 16, for MLS’s New York Red Bulls. He moved from MLS to Spain’s Villarreal on a $10 million transfer at age 18 in 2008 and his career has been a roller-coaster ever since.

When he couldn’t break into the Villarreal starting lineup, he was loaned to second division Xerez, which left him on the bench. Next was a loan to Hull City of the English Premier League, where he scored once in 28 appearances. Villarreal shipped him off to Turkey’s Bursaspor in 2011 where he managed a single goal.

Still, he contributed to the U.S. national team, famously scoring the winning goal against Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup semifinal, and he started all four games at the 2010 World Cup.

By the time Klinsmann took the U.S. helm, Altidore had scored 12 U.S. goals. When he joined Dutch club AZ Alkmaar on a $3 million transfer, his club career finally took off. In the 2012-13 season, he set a record for goals by an American abroad, with 31, the last of which was the gamewinner in the Dutch Cup final three weeks ago.

But entering the Germany game, he had gone 11 games without a goal. His only goal in the Klinsmann era was a penalty kick in November 2011 in a 3-2 win over Slovenia.

In the 13th minute against the Germans, Altidore finally got what had been so rare while playing for the USA -- good service in front of the goal. Graham Zusi delivered a cross that Altidore volleyed into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

The own goal came three minutes later but in the second half the Germans narrowed the lead to 2-1. In the 60th minute, Altidore chipped a pass from the corner of the penalty area that Dempsey slammed into the German net.

In February 2012, when the USA beat Italy, 1-0, in a friendly it was Altidore who set up Dempsey for the gamewinner. But since then and the Germany game, Altidore for the USA was a forward who toiled futilely alone upfront and rarely received balls in scoring position. Despite his goals in the Netherlands, hopes that Altidore would be the scorer the USA desperately needed seemed to fade with each appearance. But in reality, the problem was that Altidore wasn’t getting the ball where he could be dangerous.

"We want him to have chances," Klinsmann said. "A lot of the games where he didn't score, he didn't have chances. … He's strong in the air and technically very, very gifted."

Altidore’s talents were discovered first in Florida by Austrian coach Josef Schulz who set up the Schulz Academy. While on a walk in the park with his wife, Schulz spotted the 8-year-old Altidore in a pickup game.

Schulz approached Jozy’s father, a Haitian immigrant, and said, "You might laugh at what I am about to say but one day your son is going to be on the U.S. national team. Bring him to our practice and see if you like it."

Altidore helped the Schulz Academy win the first of three straight Super-Y-League North American Championship before joining the U-17 national residency in Bradenton, Fla. He played in the 2005 U-17 World Cup before becoming an MLS teenage sensation for the New York Red Bulls. At the 2007 U-20 World Cup, he scored four goals.

In the years since, Altidore’s ability to consistently spearhead the U.S. attack have been questioned. The latest performance from a player who is only 23 years old make one optimistic. It depends mainly, however, on whether his teammates can get him the ball the way that Zusi did against the Germans.

‘DEUCE’ MOVES UP. Dempsey, nicknamed “Deuce” from the days when he wore the No. 2, is now second in all-time U.S scoring after his strikes against Germany:

USA All-Time leading Scorers
1. Landon Donovan 49
2. Clint Dempsey 35
3. Eric Wynalda 34
4. Brian McBride 30
5. Joe-Max Moore 24
6. Bruce Murray 21
7. DaMarcus Beasley 17
7. Earnie Stewart 17
9. Cobi Jones 15
10. Carlos Bocanegra 14
10. Eddie Johnson 14.

June 2 in Washington, D.C.
USA 4 Germany 3.
Goals: Altidore 13, own goal (ter Stegen) 16, Dempsey 60, Dempsey 65; Westermann 51, Kruse 78, Draxler 81.
USA -- Howard, Evans , Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley (Castillo, 56); Bradley, Jones, F.Johnson (Davis, 46), Zusi (E.Johnson, 56); Dempsey, Altidore (Boyd, 81)
Germany -- ter Stegen; Howedes, Jansen (Aogo, 46), Mertesacker (Wollsched, 46); Reinartz, Draxler, Schurrle (Sam, 65), Podolski, Bender (Westermann, 46), Bender (Kruse, 46); Klose (Mueller, 79).
Referee: Paul Delgadillo (Mexico)
Att.: 47,359

Next up:
June 7: Jamaica-USA
Kickoff: 9:30 pm ET.
TV: beIN Sport

USA-Germany Highlights

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 8:33 a.m.
    Player Ratings? Donovan = 0

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 8:56 a.m.
    To know how famous those German players are, you only need to know that I already forgot the names of the players who scored for them.

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 9:52 a.m.
    Wow Gus, incredible! Altidore had a good game, finally. However,his involvement from the beginning kick-off he muffed his first 5 touches. Zusi delivery was an automatic goal and any player who would have muffed that service should have been castigated as a pariah. Granted, he has talent and once his mind and ego begins to think team and not Me Me Me he has the tools to be a contributing team player. I am looking forward to that transformation.

  1. Thomas Sullivan
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
    Dempsey was essential. Altidore's goal was set up by Dempsey's run and pass to Zusi. 4 German defenders converged on Dempsey, creating all sorts of space for Zusi and Altidore. Both Belgium and Germany showed who matters on the US squad with how they covered Dempsey and fought to give him no space and no time. The major difference between the Belgium game and yesterday was solid midfield play from Bradley, changes the game and ability to move forward as a team.

  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
    I saw Altidore when he was 10 yrs old playing for the Schultz club team. I ref'd the game and he was impressive because he was large for his age and he had good skills and great confidence. He ran through the other team and scored frequently. The other Florida product that is on the MNT is Eddie Johnson. I was on the other team playing Eddie when he was 13-14 playing for the Flagler Dogs team. Eddie was big, fast and aggressive. He was not particularly skilled but I am happy to see him that he is a much improved ball handler these days.

  1. John Soares
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 1:10 p.m.
    Altidore had an excellent game... perhaps his best ever. Most of the team looked good, until the substitutions began. Man of the match Brad Evans.

  1. Vince Leone
    commented on: June 3, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.
    Many good performances by U.S. players. The most alarming exception--again--was Omar Gonzalez. In every appearance for the U.S. he has been too slow mentally and physically. Hopefully he is a fast learner. In his first appearance at right back, it was clear that Evans made better decisions than Gonzalez did at center back.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 5, 2013 at 10:10 a.m.
    No player was super, some were solid and others were less so. Getting carried away with this performance is delusional as the USMNT track record is more filled with bumps than consistent performances. Psycho-wise, the win is valuable; and finally Altidore et al got some service.

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