Tag Archives: Jozy Altidore

New Post: Three keys for the #USMNT tonight against Costa Rica in Copa America

By, Kyle Gibson

After a subpar start against Colombia in Copa America Friday, the U.S. Men’s National team returns to action Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Costa Rica.

One would assume that Colombia will beat Paraguay, but the United States essentially needs a win to keep Costa Rica at one point, forcing a necessity for a Ticos win against Colombia in the final contest.

Here are three keys for Tuesday’s match-up.

1. Do not concede an early goal: 

This is a problem I didn’t include in the last game for fear of being redundant. After all, allowing early goals has plagued the U.S. in big games for years. Cristian Zapata’s eighth-minute goal from a corner again exposed the team’s penchant for allowing early goals, while also highlighting the team’s sometimes glaring set-piece weaknesses.

Costa Rica is one of the most solid teams in the tournament, so the U.S. can simply not afford to be chasing the game for long stretches.

2. No Jermaine Jones:

Jones completely lost the plot for much of his time in the game. Feeling a youthful vigor that doesn’t match his aging skill set, Jones would often rush forward, trying to take speedy Colombian defenders on. This led to plenty of dispossession and often seemed to confuse Jones’ teammates.

I would play Darlington Nagbe instead. Nagbe has been impressive in his appearances for the squad so far and has plenty of speed and technical ability.

3. Will the real Michael Bradley please stand up? 

I mentioned Bradley as a key in my last post too, but I sincerely believe that as Bradley goes, so goes the team.

Often, Bradley did not display his trademark judgement on Friday and his passes were not crisp.Hopefully for the Yanks, Tuesday will be much better for Bradley.

Bonus: We need to talk about Clint. 

Clint Dempsey just doesn’t have “it” anymore. The skill, above average speed and love of “trying s*&t,” as he used to call it, just does not seem to be present anymore in the 33-year old.

If healthy, the central spot Dempsey is filling would more than likely be filled by Jozy Altidore. I don’t think Jurgen Klinsmann will do this, but I think Bobby Wood would be much better in this spot.

Follow @KyleisGibson on Twitter. 



New Post: This is Jozy Altidore’s Last Big Chance

By, Kyle Gibson

We had all been expecting U.S. international Jozy Altidore to find his way back into the MLS and now that deal has been agreed with Toronto F.C. sending Jermain Defoe back to England for Altidore and a few million bucks.

For Altidore, he should be very excited at the chance to redeem himself after one of the worst striker spells in modern EPL history.

Sure, Sunderland doesn’t light up the scoreboard, but Altidore’s performance was so bad at times that he couldn’t even make it in the 18 man roster that even have a chance to play.

After scoring 39 league goals in Holland with AZ, Altidore managed just one at Sunderland after 42 EPL matches.

Hold on. Let me just repeat that. He had ONE goal in 42 matches. That’s laughable, unless you’re a fan of his club or the U.S. Men’s National Team. Then you just want to have a nice cry.

With that strike rate, I doubt he ever gets a shot outside of MLS again, but here is why all is not lost for Jozy.

Confidence Factor

It’s a strong belief of mine that a striker needs to have confidence to perform at his very best. Altidore did not get that at Sunderland, where manager Gus Poyet soured on him very quickly. Jozy never truly felt at home there, I don’t think. At Toronto, he will pretty much always have the fans on his side and the team will feed off of his big moments.

Previous MLS Success

Before moving to Villareal, Altidore was one of the best young players in the MLS with the New York Red Bulls. He scored a strong 15 goals in 37 MLS games. There is a strong chance he will repeat that with Toronto FC.

Plenty of Matches

I also believe that strikers need to have a lot of matches in order to play their best. When they are in a slump, they need time to play out of it. Only match experience can help some strikers out of a goal drought. Jozy has experienced a few dry spells in his career, including a huge one this past year that I wrote about. Toronto FC will not only give him plenty of action; they will NEED him in action.

Jurgen Klinsmann will no doubt be keeping a sharp eye on Altidore’s performances in the MLS. At age 25, he has already accomplished so much as a striker. However, there is still that feeling that much more could still be accomplished if this leg of his career goes according to plan.

Preview: The 3 Keys to the USMNT not Waffling against Belgium, including leaving Jozy Altidore on the bench

By, Kyle Gibson

Since advancing last Thursday, the US men’s national team has set its sights on the insanely talented, Group H winner Belgium. Led by Eden Hazard, this team’s combined transfer fee is up there with most of the world’s elites.

As I wrote last week, though, Belgium thus far has played like a group of individuals, not a cohesive unit. The team also qualified for knockouts from the easiest group in the tournament.

Here are my three keys to beating the Belgians.

1. Don’t Start Jozy Altidore

Altidore participated in full training for the first time since his injury against Ghana on Monday and is listed as available, but just because he’s fit to go, it doesn’t mean Jurgen Klinsmann should start him.

Let’s go ahead and say the Germany game was an anomaly, because the US only looked to score a few times. Besides that game, the US has scored 2 goals in each game, 2 coming from Clint Dempsey.

In order to preserve the shape that has gotten the team this far, the 4-2-3-1, Klinsmann should opt to keep things the same and keep Dempsey up top. If the US finds itself needing offensive firepower late on, go for a two striker formation and let Altidore impact the game with fresh legs.

We have to remember, by the way, that Altidore wasn’t exactly stacking up the goals before his hamstring injury, anyway.

2. Watch the Late Goals

Belgium has only scored goals in the second half at this Finals, including a 78th minute winner against South Korea and an 88th minute winner against Russia. Unfortunately for the US, it has given away two crucial goals in the final 10 minutes, Ghana’s equalizer and Portugal’s game-tying miracle.

The US can’t allow the Belgians to score late, which is easier said than done. Speedy wingers and strong depth means that the likes of Kevin Mirallas or Divock Origi could be on as substitutes late, terrorizing the US goal. To make matters worse, Eden Hazard and right winger Dries Mertens don’t seem to tire.

I keep flashing back to fellow CONCACAF teams Mexico and Costa Rica, who surrendered stoppage time goals on Sunday. Mexico paid for it with elimination, while Costa Rica barely escaped from penalties.

3. Michael Bradley has to perform

I don’t know what it is with Michael Bradley, but he has had a very rough World Cup. Bradley looked broken against Ghana, surrendered the giveaway that Portugal ultimately equalized on and then played poorly against Germany as well.

Perhaps many critics were right and Bradley wasn’t suited to play as an attacking central midfielder on the world stage. With that being said, Bradley performed great at that spot in the World Cup tuneup games against powerful Turkey and fellow Knockout team Nigeria.

Bradley switched positions slightly with Jermaine Jones in the second half of the Germany game. Perhaps Klinsmann will keep that in mind when he prepares the lineup for Belgium.

Michael Bradley has been the best field player for maybe a year now. He can’t let his team down at the biggest of stages. We need to see more from Michael Bradley in this World Cup Finals if the US wants to find a way to the quarterfinals.

Do you believe? What are your keys? Share in the comments or send me a tweet @kickingit10


Jozy Altidore Available for Belgium Match

The US Soccer Federation has announced that Jozy Altidore will be available for Tuesday’s match against Belgium.

Altidore, a striker who plays for Sunderland in England, injured his hamstring early In the first US Group game against Ghana.

Clint Dempsey has been filling in as the lone striker for Altidore, who missed the remainder of Group G play.

I will update more about Altidore in a game preview soon to be released.

USA vs Portugal: Follow Them Into the Jungle

By, Kyle Gibson

The remote, Brazilian jungle city of Manaus awaits the second matchup for the US on its quest through the “group of death” against Portugal.

In many cases leading up to this game, the story has been about who would not be on the field. Portugal defenders Pepe (suspension) and Fabio Coentrao (groin) will be out today, but World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo (knee) will play.

Ronaldo will be a handful, but he typically plays a very insular game when he plays for country, choosing not to involve his lesser skilled teammates. Any Ronaldo involvement is dangerous, but might not necessarily be deadly. After all, Jurgen Klinsmann has opted for a formation with two extra defenders, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman.

Jozy Altidore had a bad hamstring injury against Ghana and will not be ready for Portugal. I expect Klinsmann to slot Clint Dempsey, who broke his nose but will play today, Into that lone striker spot. Graham Zusi, who assisted the winner against Ghana, could fill that place vacated by Dempsey. Brad Davis and maybe Mix Diskerud could fill that midfield area as well, depending on what the US brain trust sees from scouting.

I fully expect to see a lively Portugal side that has to push as hard as it can to both win and score goals to make up from the terrible Germany loss. However, this team is not that tightly knit and could break into squabbles if the US stays resolute.

My prediction: 2-2 draw. I hope I’m wrong, but I just see Ronaldo and conditions being too much today.

The Temperature around kickoff in Manaus should be around 80 degrees, but humidity will play a large factor. Leading up to the match, the conditions have been described as “Dallas in July.”

Keep in mind that the US has been tasked with one of the toughest finishing games of any group: Germany. Any points are required today, in my opinion.

If the US could win and qualify for knockouts before having to play Germany, my breathing pattern will definitely be more regular leading up to Thursday.

Kicking It Podcast: USA Beats Ghana Edition!! We Recorded Our Instant Reactions from the US 2-1 Victory

By, Kyle Gibson

We were so excited after the USA beat Ghana 2-1 that we instantly headed upstairs and recorded this podcast celebrating the US over Ghana in Brazil.

Here’s the link, or simply click below. It’s a quick listen, so sit back and savor the victory! USA USA USA

Preview: The United States will finally beat Ghana at the World Cup today if it can do these three things


By, Kyle Gibson

The day we have waited for (or dreaded) for months is finally here. Once again, the United States finds Ghana in its path at a FIFA World Cup finals. The Stars of West Africa are talented, dynamic, fast and most importantly, beatable. Here, in my humble opinion, are the three keys to the US coming out victorious in it’s first Group of Death match.

Survive the first 15 Minutes

In studying the US on film. Ghana’s technical staff has probably realized by now that the US back line is not so stellar. There are still problems with the combination of Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler centrally and the only player of the four with World Cup experience, DaMarcus Beasley, earned his caps as a midfielder. That’s why I think Ghana will press and attack the US hard to start the match, before this back four can find its footing. If the US can make it through the first 15 minutes without giving up a goal, the defense can breathe easier and relax, knowing it has stopped a significant effort from a top team.

Keep shape in Midfield

This thought hinges on whether or not Jurgen Klinsmann will roll out the lineup we saw against Nigeria. Klinsmann axed the 4-4-2  diamond for a 4-2-3-1 with both defensive midfielders, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman, playing just ahead of the defensive line. If Klinsmann wants to use that formation again, I’m worried about the positional discipline of Jermaine Jones. Jones can wander out of position at times, which could leave the fledgling back line exposed to players like Jordan Ayew and Asamoah Gyan.

If the 4-2-3-1 is indeed the formation, I think Clint Dempsey’s role is important as well. Dempsey’s unorthodox game can often be selfish, as Klinsmann himself has pointed out. He is playing behind Jozy Altidore in this new formation, which means he’s tasked with helping Jozy stay involved. Clint has scored against Ghana at the World Cup (2006), but if today becomes the Clint Dempsey show, it hurts chances at winning.

We know Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey will fill two of the attacking spots, but what about the other? I think this should be Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya possesses ability going forward and is also conscientious about tracking back to help on defense, which will be crucial against Ghana. Mix Diskerud can be subbed into this spot if need be later on.

Play Possession oriented Soccer

Keeping Ghana off the ball will be very important and a healthy amount of possession can aid the US in that regard. More possession equals more chances as well. This is easier said than done against a side as quick and gifted as Ghana, but it can be done. Also, if Ghana wants to spring into counter attack, it essentially will have six defenders to deal with if Klinsmann sticks with the 4-2-3-1.

Here’s my projected US Starting lineup, in the formation I’ve been mentioning.

Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Alejandro Bedoya, Jozy Altidore.

–Give us a follow on Twitter, will ya? @kickingit10