MLS Talking Points: Altidore and Dempsey catch fire

With two World Cup 2018 qualifiers around the corner, U.S. national team strikers Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey both picked the right moment to get hot. Since MLS play resumed after the All-Star Game three weeks ago, Altdore and Dempsey have scored nine goals between them for Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders, respectively, and both teams are undefeated.

Altidore was without a goal in 2016 until he scored in the 3-0 win over Columbus on July 31. Since then, he's scored or assisted in every game as Toronto FC has run its unbeaten streak to six games (five wins and one tie) and moved to within a point of Eastern Conference leader New York City FC.

In his second start since returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Copa Centenario, Altidore scored the third goal just before halftime as TFC picked up one one of its most impressive wins of the season, 3-1 at Philadelphia.

TFC coach Greg Vanney says Altidore adds more than just another scoring threat to go along with Sebastian Giovinco.

"He is also our target if we get out wide and we have to serve in front of the goal," said Vanney. "And I think he draws a lot of attention, which allows Sebastian to find that little bit of extra space on the field. And I think they are both doing a great job looking for each other and combining with each other. He is massive and he is probably underrated in terms of the amount of defensive work that he gives us as a striker. He does a lot of work, he is responsible and he is always looking for ways he can help out the team."

In the five games since the All-Star Game, Altidore and Giovinco have scored nine of Toronto's 12 goals and added five assists.

"I feel like we are getting back to it," said Altidore, "and Seba is a really great player."

Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
1-0 7/31: Columbus (W 3-0)
0-1 8/3: Real Salt Lake (W 1-0)
1-0 8/6: New England (W 4-1)
1-0 8/14: Houston (W 1-1)
1-0 8/20: Toronto FC (W 3-1)

Dempsey scored the first two goals for the Sounders in their 3-1 win over Portland that moved them to within two points of the sixth-place Timbers with two games in hand. He has scored five goals and added one assist in the last four games as the Sounders have cut a 10-point deficit to two. In the first five months of the season, Dempsey had just three goals and one assist for the Sounders.

They have are 3-0-1 in the last four games, all since Coach Sigi Schmid was fired and Nicolas Lodeiro was acquired from Boca Juniors. The Uruguayan playmaker has one goal and four assists in his first MLS game.

"It's back to everybody having fun," said Dempsey, whose eight goals against the Timbers are the most any Sounder has scored against another team. "I feel like we're circulating the ball well. Everyone is getting good looks, not just one person."

The Sounders have started the same team for the last three games, but Dempsey says the Sounders have the best depth in the four years he's been with the team.

"Nico has been huge for us," but everyone is playing well."

Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
0-0 7/31: LA Galaxy (T 1-1)
3-0 8/7: Orlando City (W 3-1)
0-1 8/14: Real Salt Lake (W 2-1)
2-0 8/21: Portland (3-1)

6 comments about "MLS Talking Points: Altidore and Dempsey catch fire".
  1. James e Chandler, August 22, 2016 at 8:48 a.m.

    Well good for them.
    They could probably score in an indoor rec league too bouncing the ball off the wall past fat guys.
    Does this really translate to success at the International level?

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, August 22, 2016 at 11:48 a.m.

    Well not scoring goals in MLS certainly translates at the international level. :)

  3. Albert Harris, August 22, 2016 at 11:35 a.m.

    I always enjoy how the haters of the world always have to get in a dig. A simple "let's hope they can keep it up but I doubt it" is never enough.

  4. Wooden Ships, August 22, 2016 at 1:21 p.m.

    Both of them are one and two in scoring for the USMNT. For me Bobby Wood has surpassed Jozy in what he brings. Can they play along side each other? Doubtful. Deuce has more qualifying goals in him even with reduced range. Enjoyed watching the Center in the Portland-Seattle match.

  5. Andrew Kear, August 24, 2016 at 2:17 p.m.

    A streaking Antidore can carry a team. He looks as if he has slimmed down a bit. This should help his agility.

  6. Wooden Ships replied, August 25, 2016 at 11:12 a.m.

    I respect your Jozy enthusiasm but very few players have ever been known to carry a team. He has looked formidable at times but against marginal defenses. Can't think of games where he played a quality 90 minutes versus top ranked teams in a non friendly.

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