May 24, 2012, 2:45 PM EST
If 2011-2012 was the club breakout of Jozy Altidore, then call the coming 12 months his explosion on the international stage. The young striker — he’s still only 22 — is ready to dominate United States national team opponents during World Cup qualifying and beyond.
It’s been a journey for the former New York Red Bull. Altidore always had the physical talents, but struggled with the positional aspects of the game. He’s learning, saying as much to FIFA: “I’m a lot more mature today and that’s crucial in terms of better understanding and reading the game.”
He’s finally comfortable in a club situation and finding playing time with AZ. Altidore rewarded the Dutch club’s faith with 15 goals. (Ernie Stewart is the technical director.)
Now, it’s time to bring that success to the Stars and Stripes. We saw glimpses during the Gold Cup and against Italy of Altidore’s improved hold-up play, decision-making, and movement. He will continue to thrive under Jurgen Klinsmann.
“He’s giving us a different approach. It’s new for all of us, but he’s positive all the time and that’s important for the squad. His training sessions are very different from what we’ve known before. They’re more intense as well. We’re now doing two sessions a day during our get-togethers,” Altidore told FIFA.
One note did stick out: “I’m lucky enough to have had great coaches to help me improve, like Manuel Pellegrini and Bruce Arena. I’ve been able to take advantage of each season to learn and heed the lessons, but it was when I finally had the chance to play that I was able to express myself.”
Arena? That’s an… interesting choice.
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Fulham decided it early against Aston Villa, while Giroud was denied late at The Emirates.
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NBC Sports’ analysts consider what’s going right in the South, wrong in the East.
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Dec 8, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal the lead with just 10 minutes to go, but Gerard Deulofeu broke Arsenal fans hearts not long after.
Dec 8, 2013, 11:47 AM EST
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Dec 8, 2013, 10:33 AM EST
Dimitar Berbatov looked like a changed man and Steve Sidwell scored as well to give Fulham their first win in seven weeks.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:31 AM EST
Arsene Wenger has the Gunners flying high at the top of the league, with a chance for another impressive win against Everton to put them 7 points clear.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:14 AM EST
Fulham are well on their way to ending a run of six consecutive defeats.
Dec 8, 2013, 8:36 AM EST
It’s slowly coming out that David Moyes has been keeping an eye on summer target Kevin Strootman of Roma.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:50 AM EST
Can Rene Meulensteen breathe life into Dimitar Berbatov and a weary Fulham squad, or will it be Villa’s away day magic that continues to shine bright at Craven Cottage?
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We’ll know in the next few days:
Dec 7, 2013, 11:00 PM EST
Can the Gunners stretch their lead at the summit? Will Fulham stop the rot? Both games live on NBCSN:
Dec 7, 2013, 10:00 PM EST
Experience was key early, set pieces came back to haunt them, and nobody will remember how you lost.
Dec 7, 2013, 9:28 PM EST
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