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Red Bulls Bet on Altidore

Unless the New York Red Bulls make a last-minute addition before the opening day of the MLS season, it's very likely 17-year old Jozy Altidore will be starting against the Columbus Crew on April. Aside from Altidore and John Wolyniec, the Bulls don't have any other healthy strikers with MLS experience. Altidore isn't all that experienced either, although it was his goals late last season that helped see the Bulls into the playoffs and nearly past D.C. United in the first round. Given the team's thin striking situation, he'll definitely be expected to shoulder more scoring responsibility this year.

Following a barrage of criticism in the press for the team's alleged poor financial situation, Red Bull declared Thursday a media day, making coaches and players available for interviews. USA Today spoke with both Altidore and Coach Bruce Arena about the youngster's prospects for his second professional season in MLS.

"I feel like I'm respected a little bit more, [but] I still really haven't developed to my max potential," said Altidore. "I'm going to try to bring what I can to the table. It's going to be tough. MLS is no pushover." Coach Arena is similarly cautious about making any pronouncements. "When we start the season, we don't get any bonus points for having a 17-year-old on the field. No one gives us extra credit," the former U.S. national team coach said. "He's treated the same way as a 35-year-old veteran. He's got to step on the field and show what he is."

Read the whole story at USA Today »

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