International Football

Jozy Altidore: Breaking Down Why Young American Should Have Made USMNT Roster

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 14:  Jozy Altidore of AZ Alkmaar celebrates scoring his teams first goal of the game during the Eredivisie match between PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar at Philips Stadion on April 14, 2012 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 9, 2012

Newsflash, Jurgen Klinsmann: Beggars can't be choosers. 

It's no secret that the United States Men's National Team has struggled to find a consistent scoring threat in front of stars Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan over the past few years, and because of that, there's no excuse for leaving the Eredivisie's top scorer off the roster.

Yes, that would be none other than Jozy Altidore, who has netted an unbelievable eight goals through six matches for AZ Alkmaar in the solid Dutch league. 

But being arguably the best in-form American on the club level wasn't enough for Klinsmann, who left Altidore off his 24-man USMNT roster on Monday afternoon. 

There's no question that the 22-year-old American is far from perfect.

He's been a general disappointment on the international level since first being called up to the senior team in 2007. 13 goals in 51 appearances is nothing to scoff at, but most would agree that Altidore has failed in living up to his extraordinarily high potential. 

Similarly, club success does not equal international success. 

Just because Altidore is a dominant force in the Eredivisie doesn't mean he's suddenly going to wake up from his American slumber and stop playing like a flaming pile of poop when he has that red, white and blue shirt on.

But once again: Beggars can't be choosers.

Instead of Altidore, Klinsmann decided to bring Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon along for the United States' World Cup qualifying matches against Antigua and Guatemala. 

Johnson is a fine choice. The current Seattle Sounder not only has 16 goals in 29 appearances this year, but he has 42 international caps under his belt. 

But Alan Gordon? 

The man who has rejuvenated San Jose in the MLS this season is having a terrific campaign and scoring goals at a blinding pace, but he's 30 years old and has yet to make an appearance on the national level. 

Leaving Altidore off the squad can be a justifiable action, just not when Alan Gordon is the man to replace him. 

It's unlikely that this decision will hurt Klinsmann during two matches that the Americans should undoubtedly win, but in the future, Altidore has to have a spot on this squad.

Not only is he in fine form in a competitive league, but he brings with him much-need experience that will prove to be vital in a run at the 2014 World Cup (via ESPN's Paul Carr):

Worth repeating: Altidore had played 17 straight WCQ. Next longest active streak by #USMNT field player is four.

— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) October 8, 2012

Finally, don't forget that he's still only 22. Giving up on him now—while he's clearly still vastly improving—to continually take MLS players with less experience and less potential would be a huge mistake.


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