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Jozy Altidore back in the U.S. national team plans

Nov 12, 2012, 11:25 AM EDT

Altidore 5

The funny thing about l’affair Altidore is that a 23-year-old athlete handled the whole thing, his temporary and highly public estrangement from the national team, so much better than most of us.

When left off the last U.S. roster, Jozy Altidore, promised to work hard to reclaim national team grace, wished the team well and got on with things. He left the teeth gnashing, head scratching, recriminations and cries of injustice up to media and supporters, many of whom did not let him down.

We obsessed, he shrugged.

But here we are, just one measly little month later, and Altidore is right back in the mix, probably a little better for it all. Not only does the young U.S. goal-getter have clear indication that he needs to do more, U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann has clear indication that Altidore can take a punch. Klinsmann can trust that Altidore is not going to go scorched earth when things don’t go as he would like.

(By the way, Klinsmann deserves some credit here. As I keep saying, the goal has always been greater achievement at World Cup 2014, not just standard qualification. Klinsmann always figured he could get the points out of those last two semifinal round qualifiers without Altidore, but the desire to push him, to get more from him, gained higher priority in the manager’s mind.)

The AZ Alkmaar striker’s mature response to last month’s omission surely was part of the reason Klinsmann turned back to Altidore for the latest roster, which was released this morning.

We’ll have more on today’s roster news later.

Here is the 20-man selection set to face Russia on Wednesday:

  • Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
  • Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
  • Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
  • Forwards: Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna)
  1. soccerjohn - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    So, what’s your bet, Steve? After giving the young player a public scolding and then bringing him back in the fold, does JK start him? I’m putting my chips on “starting XI.” A fired-up, high-workrate Altidore would make everybody look good. It’d be fun to watch, too!

    • Steve Davis - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      If the alignment includes just one forward (with Dempsey in behind), I expect Gomez to start. But I would not be shocked to see Altidore in at the half. That’s my best guess.

      • wesbadia - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        I could’ve sworn Dempsey’s name was not on that roster…

      • Steve Davis - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        YES! scratch that. I was in “Jozy-only” think mode.

  2. eatcheson - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Any guesses at the starting XI?

    One wild stab at it…

    4-1-3-2

    Gomez–Altidore
    Klejstan–Bradley–Gatt
    Williams
    Johnson–Boca–Cameron–Chandler
    Howard

    Apparently, Timmy is now ready to be cap-tied, according to the USSF. If so, that’s fantastic.

    • wesbadia - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      If Chandler being cap-tied is true (and I have no reason to doubt it is), then maybe this clears up concerns from those (Taylor Twellman?) that were left wondering why Klinnsman called him up this round. Perhaps Jurgen is forcing Chandler’s hand?

      • Ryan Sholin - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Chandler’s not cap-tied. Yet.

    • wfjackson3 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      Wait, friendlies don’t count as cap-ties, right?

  3. wesbadia - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    This is the type of roster I’d expect going into the last friendly of 2012. Jurgen needs to get off the fence about certain guys, Chandler and Altidore foremost among them. He also needs to give big chances to those that have been left off in the past (Kljestan, Gatt, Gyau, Agudelo). Russia is a huge presence right now in European action, and this is a perfect chance for those “questionables” for the USMNT roster to show they can excel when called upon. Giving them some veteran presence with rocks like Bradley, Howard, Jones, and most of the back line will provide stability.

    Does Altidore start? I would think so, but how does he work with Gomez? They don’t seem as complimentary as Gomez/Dempsey do together. I see the lax substitute rules in friendlies being used heavily by Klinnsman. He’s going to want to test out as many players as possible, and with four strikers (three of which are young) I think he’ll be giving all of them a chance.

  4. danielofthedale - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Super excited to see Mix, Gatt, and Gyau get called up. These guys could be the heart of the midfield for the next World Cup cycle with Michael Bradley.

    I am more than a little surprised by Agudelo’s call up. He did not look like he had the form of a few seasons back this season with Chivas the few times I got to see him.

    Do you know if Aron Johannsson got a call and turned it down?

  5. dreadpirate82 - Nov 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    While I’m excited about the Altidore/Chandler recalls, as well as the new guys, I really like that he called Agudelo into the team. That kid’s had a tough year, what with the injury and trade to a terrible team. I feel like Jurgen is throwing him a bone because he thinks Agudelo will eventually be a big part of the USMNT. We know he has talked about current form, but you can’t always go off of current form. I like this as another example of Jurgen showing flexibility in his roster choices. Looks great to me, especially given the scheduling and travel constraints.

  6. bigdinla - Nov 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    This roster has a lot of speed! Just hope he leaves captain yellow card on the bench and start Williams and Bradley in the middle.

  7. tylerbetts - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I’ll be more convinced that Jozy is back in the USMNT plans when he’s called up for a set of games where Eddie Johnson is available. Seems clear that EJ got the Jozy spot last time, and due to both injury and club situation, EJ is not available this time. Not saying Jozy isn’t back in and that Klinsman wasn’t just going for a very short term message to the young man, but that factor adds a layer of complexity.

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