What’s Happening to Jozy Altidore?

What is really going on with the young American striker
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Thursday, October 15, 2015

US Soccer Federation (USSF)

When you cover the US Men’s National Team or a player that was born within an MLS side like Red Bull New York that gave him his chance to breakout and become that dangerous striker you knew he could be, you can’t help but have some concerns for him — like Jozy Altidore, who looks like he is having a mental breakdown of some sorts.

Since transferring to Villarreal of Spain’s La Liga, Altidore hasn’t looked to continue his strides since he broke out in his first stint in MLS. He tried Turkey and with Hull in England till he had some success in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar and winning a Dutch KNVB Cup in the 2012-13 season. Then he went back to England playing for Sunderland that never worked well, which led him back to MLS and signing with Toronto FC this season.

Since returning from Europe, Altidore has picked up some bad habits that are not favorable, and one of them has been yelling at the on field officials. It all got started in a friendly against Switzerland at Bern as he earned his first yellow card on a harsh foul, then mouthed off to the ref that gave him a 2nd yellow and then a red on March 31st.

His play during the group stage of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup was completely invisible as he never converted a chance or got into position to get a chance. Jurgen Klinsmann was not happy with Altidore’s performance and sent him back to Toronto before the knockout stage began.

Even in these last two games Altidore just never looked mentally prepared and seemed lost on the field. When he did have the ball against Mexico he tried to convert or create chances, but the shots were off target. When he did play that first half at Red Bull Arena this past Tuesday against Costa Rica, he never got any help from the midfield as the whole side was exhausted after 120 minutes.

But this past Wednesday, during league play for Toronto FC against the Red Bulls, was troubling. Altidore who was penciled in as a substitute mouthed off at the on-field officials and gave verbal abuse to the near side/bench side assistant and referee Fotis Bazakos had no choice but to pull out the Red Card from his back pocket and showed Altidore the way out.

The real questions needs to come out and that is this, has Jozy Altidore gone into meltdown mode? The reason I ask is this and as I shouldn’t have any concerns for him, to be honest I do. Because I know how good he can be and is there something within his game that is harming him that he needs help setting it straight.

While I can only speculate and I hate to speculate, something tells me Altidore is not happy with something and his frustrations are getting the better of him and that’s not good when you know he will be selected for these first two World Cup Qualifiers against St. Vincent/Grenadines as well as on the road at Trinidad & Tobago.

Is it something that Greg Vanney needs to pull him to the side and discuss or does Jurgen Klinsmann grab a flight to Toronto and find out what’s going on, because the USA can’t afford to drop points in November to begin their Qualifying campaign on the road to Russia and some of these sides within CONCACAF have improved to the degree that they are ready to knock off the USA and stopping them from reaching the Hex.

Hopefully Altidore will find his way and become the force I know he can become as we’ve seen it before, but because he is such a streaky player I hope the good streak will be back to counter the bad he is currently on.

Daniel FEUERSTEIN

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.
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