Leaderboard Ads


US vs Jamaica – 10/11/13

USA 4-4-2 Logo

USA 4-4-2 Logo

Jozy Altidore May Not Fit in a 4-4-2

By: Paul Sheirich

The US beat Jamaica late in the match after substitutions were made (Edgar Castillo for DaMarcus Beasley at 66′, Sacha Kljestan for Aron Johannsson at 73′).  Jozy Altidore and Graham Zusi each picked up goals, Altidore’s coming off an assist from substitute Edgar Castillo.

From my perspective, Altidore got the kind of goal he used to get for the U.S. – a pretty easy cherry picker goal as he stood unmarked on the far side of the goal and all he had to do was to place the perfect ball played by Castillo into the net.

The rest of the night he was not terribly effective.  In fact, I could drop the word “not” and “effective” from the previous sentence.  He lost the ball often, was lazy with his runs, was not very creative.  In short, he looked like the player he has for years.

I had begun to think Altidore had turned the corner into a real striker, and one that could be labeled as dangerous.  His time spent playing at AZ Alkmaar appeared to have provided the education he needed.  Coach Gertjan Veerbeek saw the talent in Jozy that others had seen, and has been quoted that Jozy “did not know how to play the game” when he came to  AZ.  He noted that his first touch was terrible.  But his time with AZ under Veerbeek seemed to correct much of what ailed Jozy.

Until he got transferred to Sunderland.

Now he is back to his old comfortable self, looking more like the target player he had been trained to be, hanging out up top waiting for the ball.  As so many U.S. coaches like to see from their players, hes is a big physical player.  Soccer skills come second.  Big, fast, and physical are the top qualities that are often looked for.  In the U.S. game that will often provide the necessary foundation, and quality of play is overcome because of those attributes.  But in the rest of the world, that doesn’t really cut it.  You must have the soccer skills first.

As I’ve watched Jozy play at Sunderland this season I began to worry about his skills improving.  They have him up top as the big target man.  Friday night’s game was exactly what I was afraid of – he could have been so much more effective.

Some will blame the formation Klinsmann went with (4-4-2) with Aron Johannsson along side him.  I think the problem was Jozy.  Put another player with movement, touch, and an understanding of combination play, rather than Altidore’s target man mentality, and you have a another recipe for scoring goals.  The build up play has to look for a different style of movement up top, but you typically won’t get that from Altidore.

I’m hoping Klinsmann will stick with the formation, but try another player up top next to Johannsson against Panama.  We need to be multi-dimensional at the World Cup next year if we expect to advance against the best in the world.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: