Skip to content

Things just keep going wrong around Sunderland for U.S. striker Jozy Altidore

Jan 25, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT

Altidore's struggles at Sunderland were much talked about in England. Getty Images

You know things are quite bad when the announcer calls it painful watching Jozy Altidore. Ooof!

Let’s put some things in perspective here: If there was ever a day when Altidore needed to find his scoring shoes, today was it. Sunderland was at home against non-league Kidderminster. From the guy who scored all those goals last year in Holland, and then came over had such a fabulous summer for the U.S. national team, putting in one or two on Saturday should have been like taking candy from a little kidderminster, eh? And right away, Altidore had a great opportunity.

Alas, it went the way the entire campaign has for Altidore, pretty much all wrong. His team went through in the FA Cup match (although not all that easily), but it was another wasted opportunity for Altidore to scoop up some spirit of good feeling.

Fans around the Stadium of Light were actually booing the poor guy when he got on the ball. Ouch!

So on a day that two U.S. defenders who aren’t even in the World Cup plans scored goals (Oguchi Onyewu and Timothy Chandler), the striker who is part of the World Cup plan still couldn’t find goal. He has struck twice in his first six months with the Premier League club.

It’s a bad situation. For strikers, even more than any other positions, it’s all about confidence. Which is why it might sometimes be better for a goal-scorer to hold in place, even if that means remaining in a league seen as inferior – and the Dutch Eredivisie certainly is a league of turbo props next to the Premier League’s big jet engines.

The guy has to get some goals – otherwise he’ll come into the May training camp, ahead of the big trip into Brazil, with confidence as fragile as a kid at his first middle school dance.

  1. midtec2005 - Jan 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Maybe a 6 month loan deal? This is just unfortunate. He has all the tools to play at that level…. Sometimes adjusting to a new team can take a while, if I remember correctly it took him a while to adjust to the Eredivisie too.

  2. swansuite - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    I don’t think you can bring all the blame down on him. The things that you’re saying about his play could apply to nearly any player on that team, aside from Borini, Fletcher, and Giacommini to a lesser extent, it’s like watching the living dead. Easily the worst and least effective midfield I have ever seen at ANY level. There is an utter lack of consistency to play, little or no service to the front line, no tactical approach, it’s just awful. Insert a young and still learning American forward into the mix and this is exactly what you get. That said, Jozy easily had one of the offensive highlights for them late in the second half and has had some decent holding play, given the context of a team that may be the worst ever in the EPL. The worst part is in watching how many of their players pointedly don’t pass the American the ball, instead trusting in their Euro teammates who have, without fail, been far worse than Altidore. I don’t believe there’s many forwards in the world who would look any bettter than him at this point on this team.

    Loan him out or transfer him back to Holland–he should never have left and this is yet another example of an agent urging his client to take the big pay day rather than doing what’s best for his career which, in this case, would have been staying in Holland and playing next to Johannsson.

  3. mvktr2 - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    For fans who believe in booing home players like it or not Altidore’s performance today and thus far this season deserves to be booed.

    At this point it’s simply ‘off the rails’. I’m seriously not sure what he needs but am positive that things aren’t working. I too believe he can succeed in the epl.

  4. jucam1 - Jan 25, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    I have been saying this since this acquisition happened that he is NOT a true top tier player, he is just not an EPL or top 4 leagues player. I believe maybe Juan Agudelo has a shot, but for all those that adore this guy, his stint at Sunderland should tell you all you need to know. Regardless of how much the US hype machine wants this guy to be good at a true world class level he just isn’t. I’ve stayed quiet for months cause every time I mentioned it here people who don’t understand would freak our. Now you see, he can’t handle this level. Even the best of the best of the USMT (Clint, Bradley, Donovan) are ok at best at this level, and Altidore isn’t at their class. This is why Jurgen wants all USMT players to play abroad and try to get to legit leagues to see who will be that first US born superstar he can build a real cup contender around. Maybe in 2018 he’ll find that guy?

  5. christophershearin - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    to put the blame solely on altidore is absurd, the team love to play wide and then drop crosses into the box, the problem is the crosses never come or are nowhere near one of the runners. look at Fletcher, he has done squat as well. the team needs to get better in the final third, make more runs to open up the opposing back line and hit the open man, does Jozy deserve some blame yes, but the man needs service which he has gotten absolutely none

    • bdr1968 - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      If by “service” you mean he needs someone to hit him on the head/foot with the ball so it will deflect into the goal, I agree. Sunderland have no one who can do that.

      • Sgc - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        Not to excuse the times Altidore actually had a chance, but he’s right, Sunderland have one of the worst midfields I’ve ever seen relative to the competition in front of them. Even when they play with 5 they struggle not to be overrun and to do much of anything more than longballs, long distance shots and a bit of opportunism. When your team is just getting comprehensively beaten the way Sunderland often is (or in this case, when you’re playing a team several tiers down and not generating real chances), the forward can certainly be part of the problem, but that problem begins in midfield.

      • lyleoross - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        I’m going to have to agree with Sgc. Sunderland’s midfield has been woeful. JA is not a great striker, but he isn’t this bad. Part of the reason he looked so good with the U.S. squad was because Michael Bradley knows the midfield and can deliver. Even Sunderland acknowledges the problem, or at least their pursuit of viable midfielders suggests that.

        Sunderland was a bad deal all the way around. It’s not clear that anyone could have predicted how bad their last manager would be, but he certainly damaged the squad.

    • outofhand1024 - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      I completely agree, Sessegnon and Fletcher are both quality strikers that couldnt find the net at Sunderland. The problem is the midfield. If Altidore is going to score consistently he is going to have to do it on his own, off the dribble and thats not really his game. He should go to theMLS if he wants to play in the World Cup.

  6. talgrath - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    I was wary of the idea of Altidore going to Sunderland when it happened, the team is always in relegation land (and continues to be) and so far it really has been a terrible move. The only way for this to get better is for him to leave the team, but few places outside of America or the Dutch league will take him now.

  7. jucam1 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    Been saying it for a long time, the most overrated in the US and way over his head in the EPL. He doesn’t have the talent of a Donovan, a Bradley, or a Clint, and those guys are marginal In Europe. This is why Jurgen wants all the young US players to head to Europe, maybe by 2018 he’ll find a couple of players that can hang and hopefully even star in the top 4 leagues so the US can be a legit contender in the world stage. Altidore is clearly not that player and can’t hang in a legit league.

    • delboy0 - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      No disrespect but only Clint Dempsey has been a major success in the EPL, Donovan didn’t stay long enough to prove himself, Bradley was a bench warmer and Altidore is just out of his depth. Altidore especially disproves the American myth that if America’s best athletes played soccer they would be the best team in the world. Altidore is the rare American soccer player that had the athleticism to be an NFL or NBA player, but despite his high athleticism he is an average soccer player because he has low skill levels. This is why America is minor soccer nation not athleticism. I can guarantee that the USA will be one of the least skilful teams at the world cup and America needs to create more skilful players to compete with the best in the world.

  8. banksofthetrent - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    He is hilarious to watch, no idea and looks lost but I think he has a better strike rate than Danny Graham, so he’s not the absolutely bollocks!

  9. dsneadejr - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Against Southampton, he looked lazy. They wouldn’t boo if he put a shift in, but he doesn’t. His top speed looked like a half-jog. Rubbish..

  10. ivanmakesyouthink - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Altidore is simply not a Premier League player, it happens to certain players at certain league/team. Just look at Kaka he couldn’t play in Spain as he did in Italy and I believe that he will a top Serie A player again as soon as AC Milan turmoil and rebuilding ends. This is Altidore second change in England, and it looks like is going to be his last. I think he could be a really good player in Holland or Italy where the speed is slower and he could overpower player by his size. I will like to see him with Aron Jóhannsson at AZ in Holland and succeed in that league again and maybe play Champions League/Europa League. He does need to move on a forget England for his own good.

    • bear06 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      AZ is not going to buy Altidore since he would cost too much and Eredivisie clubs don’t really buy players for a lot of money but sell players for a lot of money.

  11. jucam1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Oh for the love of God, Frank Ribery, James Rodriguez, and Juan Mata could be playing Midfield behind JA, and he is still not good enough to play quality football in the EPL…. He maxed out in Holland, and not with the best in Holland either. There are some young up and coming players that Jurgen should try and play as much as possible now, before the cup so he doesn’t have to rely on JA. The USMT won’t get past the first round this Cup, they’ll be lucky if they can beat Ghana as consolation. But Jurgen should be focused on being a top 5-7 team in 2018, in a colder environment with good players he nurtured starting this cup year, instead of wasting time with below mediocre players like JA..

    • bear06 - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      You don’t know that. Ghana and Portugal are beatable teams so the U.S. do have a chance to get out of the group.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

MOTD: United's offensive struggles