Jozy Altidore has moved to Liga MX club Puebla on loan from the New England Revolution for the rest of the 2022 Torneo Apertura.
After seven seasons at Toronto FC, Altidore signed a three-year contract with the Revs in February, but he played only 589 minutes with one goal. He averaged more than 11 goals a game in his first five seasons in Toronto, helping the Reds reach MLS Cup three times, but he scored only six goals in his final two seasons.
Altidore, 32, played for the USA at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups but has not played an international match since the 2019 Gold Cup. He was called into the 2021 January camp but withdrew on the eve of the match against Bosnia & Herzegovina as a precaution because of the possibility of a transfer from Toronto FC.
Differences with then-Toronto FC head coach Chris Armas led to Altidore being forced to train on his own for more than seven weeks in 2021 until Armas' firing. His move to the Revs freed up a Designated Player spot on the Toronto FC roster and reunited him at New England with Bruce Arena, his coach with the New York Red Bulls in 2017, his second pro season, and on the national team in 2017.
Altidore was one of the highest-paid MLS players in 2021, making total compensation of $3,602,250, according to the MLSPA. To move him, Toronto FC agreed to pay a portion of his salary with the Revs in 2022 and 2023. He is under contract with New England through the 2024 season.
Después de una llamadita y unas recomendaciones 100% avaladas ¡Ahora sí, es un hecho!— Club Puebla (@ClubPueblaMX) July 29, 2022
¡BIENVENIDO AL PUEBLOTA, @JozyAltidore! ¡YA ERES UN HIJO DE TU ENFRANJADÍSIMA, VAMOS A ROMPERLA!
RT si #LaFranjaNosUne y ya quieres ver a nuestro Enfranjado defendiendo el pic.twitter.com/6Uz0y2HlLd
Mexico is the seventh different country in which Altidore has played after stops in the United States (New York Red Bulls and New England), Spain (Villarreal and Xerez), England (Hull City and Sunderland), Turkey (Bursaspor), the Netherlands (AZ) and Canada (Toronto FC).
The first phase of Liga MX's Apertura will end on Oct. 2. The playoffs will take place over four weeks and end Nov. 1, three weeks before the start of the World Cup.
Puebla is fifth in Liga MX, which has already played five games because of the accelerated schedule. It finished seventh and fifth in the two halves of the 2021-22 season, exiting in the quarterfinals both times. Altidore's late signing followed an injury to Venezuelan forward Fernando Aristeguieta.
Americans Herculez Gomez and DaMarcus Beasley used successful stints with La Franja to earn spots on the 2010 and 2014 U.S. World Cup teams. Gomez joined Puebla for the 2010 Clausura and was became the first American to ever win the scoring trophy in Mexico. Beasley resurrected his club career after a move to Puebla in 2011.
For Altidore to turn around his 2022 season and make the U.S. World Cup team headed to Qatar would amount to one of the most improbable comebacks in national team history.
Altidore's 42 goals rank third on the USA's all-time scoring list. His power and ability to combine with his teammates made him the automatic No. 1 choice at center forward on the national team for a decade. But he has been reduced to a shadow of his former self due to injuries in recent years.
In the last two years, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter has used seven different players at center forward. Four months before the 2022 World Cup, he's still looking to settle on a replacement for Altidore.
Photo with Revs: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire