I just finished watching the Hull City vs. Chelsea match on ESPN2. Big thanks to the man upstairs for DVR as there was no way I was getting up at 4:40am local time.
Although Jozy Altidore is still sorting out work permit issues and didn’t take the pitch, his new squad may not seem that far off from his summer squad, the USMNT.
Unfortunately for Hull City, the game was reminiscent of the US-MEX game this past Wednesday. Hull, a decided underdog versus Chelsea, produced an early goal after a George Boateng blast was defended right to a waiting Stephen Hunt who buried it in the back of the net to take an early, unexpected lead. Drogba then answered for EPL contender Chelsea off a set piece from 20+ yards before the half. And when it looked like a draw was a near certain, Drogba produced again with a fantastic goal from a near-impossible angle in stoppage time to crush Hull’s hope of walking away from Stamford Bridge with any points.
Chelsea was just a joy to watch all game—controlling possession, efficient passing and blast-after-blast toward the Hull goal, but not necessarily on frame. (If a friend wants to give soccer a test-drive, sit them down for a Chelsea game.)
Hull meanwhile, was in a defensive posture most of the match, but played with a lot of heart. While the system at Hull will be different for Jozy (they played a 4-3-3 today), he may find himself in the familiar counter-attacking offense with a fair amount of tracking back on defense based on the quality of Hull relative to the rest of the EPL.
Regardless of Hull’s standing in the EPL, the most important thing for Altidore, and ultimately the USMNT, is that he works his way into the line-up and gets playing time. Let’s get at it Jozy!