Posts Tagged ‘Jozy Altidore’

TSG Weekend Revs: Jozy Fights The Fergusons

→ Yesterday’s piece on Phil Brown using Jozy more.

Well, first, a big thank you to our readers. I had the luxury of reviewing all your comments before this evening’s Hull City-Manchester United replay on FSC. If you must know why I’m watching the 2nd showing, I was in transit back to the Left Coast via a frisking at JFK–sure was fun.

Here are some off-the-cuff bullets having just finished the game:

♦ Steven Hunt and Rafael missing ridiculous gimmes…at the 33rd, are you kidding me?

♦ “Berbatov hits the side of the net” — let’s just make that permanent saying once a half. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Rooneyaldo?

♦ It’s about time they start calling #10 for Manchester United, Rooneyaldo, no? Exquisite day, minus the back pass, for England’s main thoroughbred.

♦ And if you watched Hull’s pitch personality, you’re pretty damn sure that they have done the exact opposite of quitting on Phil Brown. That’s a team with some serious fight in them.

Now on to Big Jeezy

First, it’s important we reset the stage for this game and Jozy’s last month or so.

Hull City comes off an away loss at Arsenal where they has absolutely nill in the way of offensive play, especially in the 2nd half. As we mentioned in our last piece, Manager Brown went with a 4-5-1 with Fagan as the ball tracker up top. The Tigers attempted to strike from the corners, but as soon as Geovanni and Hunt tired, Hull had nothing and in case defensive replacements.

Altidore for his part wasn’t in the 18 at Emirates and previously didn’t lift himself off the bench in the game before that. Prior to the most recent two games, JZA was a late game sub in a draw at Blackburn going about 30 minutes in that one and was excused from the pitch at the 54 min in the game that Jimmy Bullard got injured in.

Speaking of Bullard, without him–and Ian Ashbee mind you–Manager Brown has went with a highly defensive midfield of Olofinijana and Boateng in the middle. You could argue that the pairing of Rico and Mikey Bradley are better overall and better offensively then those two. (Boateng was a player in his day.)

Brown: Making Big Jeezy the big target today

Which now leads us to Jozy’s role for the day.

Minus the midfield service, Brown mixed up both his strategy and tactics. Gone was Geovanni on the wing-point forward role for the day. With Carrick and Fletcher in the middle the smaller Geovanni would have been beat up by the Red Devils central midfielders on the day.

Instead Brown employed Altidore in the Emile Heskey target role and ran Craig Fagan off him, relying on Altidore to play in a reserved striker role for up-and-over play to him up the pitch.

Manchester United had to be constantly aware of Altidore receiving and distributing, but also Craig Fagan sneaking in behind them or making a long sprint up the pitch. Want to challenge a disorganized defensive line (Rafael in, Brown returning and manning the center), how about having them choose speed or strength on every offensive possession against them.

So Jozy’s role was target man. In this role, Jozy is not required, nay, instructed not to make the long runs or run willy-nilly all over the field. In fact, that’s precisely Craig Fagan’s job. I don’t think Jozy had too little energy today. I think he was playing the role that Phil Brown gave him–middle of the field, receive the ball. In the first half, he played the part fine.

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Big Jeezy: Phil Brown Talks To WFD

A picture of Jozy on the pitch at KC Stadium

Update: Jozy gets the start Sunday at KC Stadium….itching for a goal for the big man.

Somehow Jozy Altidore has ended up with 3 nicknames on our publication. The ultimate one being Big Jeezy.

Anywho, I finally got around to listening to Phil Brown, Hull City’s Manager on World Football Daily. I was hoping for a little bit more on JZA, but the interview focused more on Brown, Hull City and avoiding relegation.

Here’s what we did hear, paraphrasing, on Brown’s take on Jozy’s time in Yorkshire:

“Jozy’s a great talent. He went to Villarreal at early age and didn’t get a lot of run out. I’m really looking forward to him in the New Year. He’s got a lot of stuff to learn.

I’m hoping that his loan extends beyond this year. Once Jozy gets time in the Premiership and more matches, he’ll be able to showcase his talents.”

For our story on Jimmy Bullard’s impact on Jozy Altidore’s game, click here.

For what folks over the pond in Hull City think, click here.

WC 2010: 5 More Offenders To Watch (Part II)

If you missed Part I….you can either click here or scroll with your new infrared computer mouse that you weren’t supposed to get until tomorrow.

Atta'boy JZA! Merry XMas!

05. Jozy Altidore

Nearly everyone reading this column is–quite obviously–familiar with Big Jeezy. Altidore pummeled the MLS with Red Bulls before moving–with great expectation–to Villarreal in 2008.

Villarreal couldn’t find a spot for the youngster–now 20–and shipped him to Hull City on a one-year loan where his first year has been uneven.

Beyond Didier Drogba, Altidore is on the of few players that has fantastic dribbling ability to go along with massive size.

He is also one of the few offenders who can post up and turn on his guy in the center of the pitch or drive down the wing after facing up.

Can he–will he–put it together in World Cup 2010?

04. Mesut Özil

A favorite of TSG contributor Antonio, Özil is pushing for first team consideration on Germany 2010.

The 21-year-old rooster-haired Özil has 6 goals for Werder in the campaign thus far on 13 appearances. Better, for Germany, Özil has started to factor for the homeland.

Özil will sit in midfield and with talented players like Schweinsteiger and Podolski already in the fold, Özil’s skills might sneak up on opponents…but should also be announced to the world.

03. Fernando Torres

Torres needs no introduction.

So we’ll be brief and let Tim Howard tell you about Torres, “I think he’s been one of the top in the world. He’s got speed, and he’s got a great sense for the goal, which all great strikers have. The craziest thing about Torres is that as silky smooth as he is, he’s a scrapper as well.”

I’ll now quote myself and say, “If you were going to build the perfect striker, you build Fernando Torres…period.”

With Spain one of the favorites hoist the cup, with David Villa to play off, and with service from Cesc and Iniesta. Watch out!

02. Luis Fabiano

Brazil's unequaled numeral nine

USMNT fans will remember Fabiana’s gorgeous pirouette and shot through Jay DeMerit’s legs and past Timmy Howard that then righted Brazil all the way to the Confed Cup win.

Fabiano’s got everything and then some. Think of him as, say, Carmelo Anthony. He’s tall. He’s got a post up game; he can put back rebounds. He can even face you up and take you 1-on-1 or launch the 3. All he needs his service.

Brazil is coming in with a more defensive game plan to World Cup 2010–that doesn’t mean you won’t see Maicon launching crosses and Kaka shoveling passes….all in the direction of Fabiano who will be playing at the top of the offensive triangle.

(Not a highlight video, put this guy just screams striker.)

01. Didier Drogba

Drogba’s name and resume precedes himself.

This is the moment for Drogba to extoll his greatness. So often teammates (Lampard, Terry) and managers (Grant, Mourinho) call him the greatest; yet to the populace he’s more just a great striker. Not a great.

With the Ivory Coast having their strongest team in years and Drogba arguably in his last World Cup as a difference maker, it’s time for the Chelsea man to go off and claim 2010 as the Year of Drogba.

—–

Honorable mentions:

One person you should’ve been able to watch is Alexandre Pato. It looks like Pato (The “Duck”) is being outright ignored by his national team. Right now he’s one of the best 20 players in the world, in TSG’s opinion. Can someone smudge his passport so it looks he was born in Miami? Ditto for Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has basically told the Sweden team to kiss off, turning down an invitation to the Italian friendly in November, perturbed at Sweden’s inability to qualify.

Just missing this list as well were Englishmen Wayne Rooney–a phenomenal forward but not top 10 player in our book–and wingman Aaron Lennon. It was Lennon in 2006 who showed the only penchant for one-on-one dazzlement for the Three Lions and he’s looking in better form this time around.

With their best team in years, we considered putting Robin Van Persie on this list. However the Dutch have a habit of folding in top international play and Van Persie is struggling with injuries right now.

No love from TSG for the USMNT’s own Landon Donovan. The world knows about Donovan and the USMNT will need that striker ahead of him. If the States go far, Jozy will need to make hay.

Franck Ribery might showcase his chops for France, but France doesn’t have the complete game or the coach to take it to the max this time around.

Is this Samuel E’to’s swan song as well? The Cameroonian still has the chops and his national team might surprise, however service to the now-Milan striker is variable at best, so no joy from The Shin Guardian.

Part III: Davies Still Repairing, Who’s Striking?

(Part IV of the series coming real soon….)

Two months ago to the day, TSG wrote one of our more popular columns: “With Davies in Repair, Who Strikes?

We followed this column with Part II that suggested that the answer to the USMNT striking problem may lay not with the players themselves, but with a different formation that took into account the rejiggered talents of the team that Bob Bradley could currently field.

So where do we sit today? Sixty odd days after the USMNT began addressing the issue for the South African replacement–sniffle–for one Charles Davies we’re still left with a lot of head scratching, if not even more.

Cakes: "I'm the man, but I'm still curious who's the man in front of me?"

TSG’s biggest question on the day and biggest requirement? How does the new look upfront impact Landon Donovan who clearly has the class now to be a difference maker, but needs the team and strategy tailored to his style. (Just ask Clint Dempsey about this….)

On our Landon issue, no current answers. With Landon absent for both friendlies, we learned little about potential replacements in Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Defoe Jr.–I mean Jeff Cunningham–who were called in to be considered for the role.

Cunningham scored in his starting debut, but was also knocked off the ball on multiple occasions. Eddie showed a little bit of pace, but a troubling lack of creativity in one-on-one situations. Further, since that friendly, EJ was moved to the discount rack at Fulham, buried on the bench and likely available to and at the mercy of the first suitor. No playing time for the potential South African hopeful.

Worse for the USMNT, it appears that Jozy can’t get a handle on things in Davies absence either, being wildy erratic and nearly invisible in the two friendlies–whether Jozy has been told to roam the offensive 1/3 or play hold-up is not known–what is known is that whatever role he was inhabited in Friendlyville it certainly didn’t breed confidence or create systemic opportunities.

JZA’s club situation has not shed any light on his future contributions either.

So going forward in this column, we’ll take a different tack in reviewing the possible players and combinations.

We’ll do the following: We’ll give some general priorities that Bob Bradley has favored through qualification. We’ll give our take on how the offense changes with various personnel and finally we’ll interject about the USMNT’s group stage opponents in helping us with our evaluation.

General priorities:

Complement Mr. LA Galaxy Landon Donovan.

Let me lead this segment with a broader question: Should it be Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey who the team is built around?

Wow! Did you see that question coming?

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Damn You Jimmy Bullard…

• Well that stinks…as goes Jimmy Bullard so goes Jozy Altidore apparently.

Without funny man Bullard in the middle of the line-up, Hull City skipper Phil Brown has shifted his entire front six strategy. Two games post-Bullard knee injury have seen Brown go super conservative in an attempt to protect an extremely weak midfield. Brown has employed a 1-5 up top, relying on Craig Fagan to run down balls over the top and provide pressure and hoping that the likes of Steven Hunt and Geovanni can do yeoman’s work in both offensive and defensive support.

The strategy has returned Altidore, who was seeing starting time with Bullard in the line-up (and 4-4-2 line-up) to the bench or in Saturday’s case confined him to the stands. I might understand Brown’s strategy against Arsenal with one exception….Mr. Cesc Fabregas donned a parka for the game. If there was ever a game to be more offensive on the road at the Emirates, this was it. Further, what I don’t understand is, if you’re down 2-0 on the road, why take off forward players Geovanni and Garcia and introduce two defenders. Huh?

TSG for Hull City Manager!

When will Altidore see the pitch again as a starter? Likely when Bullard returns from the knee injury suffered three games ago against Villa. Jozy was able to link effectively with Bullard migrating the ball up the pitch–in short Hull was more offensive. With Fagan, Hull is essentially conceding offensive flow in favor of stretching the defense and hoping to get lucky on an over-the-top ball or on the trailing authoritative foots of Hunt and Geovanni.

Not all is lost for Big Jeezy though. Wiith a Sunday game coming up hosting Man U and a Bolton game away the Tuesday following, Altidore should factor in one of the two.Further, as we mentioned in our column on Friday, Kamel Ghilas goes out for the African Cup….so Jozy will–hopefully– be consistently in the 18 as at worst the 3rd striking option.

Does this man hold the key for the USMNT striker fortunes in South Africa....

Finally, you have to be a bit concerned by the defensive posturing of Manager Brown…if Brown thinks he can eek out survival of the relegation zone with going defensive and playing for the win only sporadically, JZA might have further trouble getting on the pitch until his game becomes more mature and well-rounded.

Let’s watch for Bullard’s return–it’s ironical that the once heir apparent to the central midfield for England might hold the key the USMNT striker fortunes in South Africa.

• If you didn’t see Clint’s assist Saturday against United it it was vintage Dempsey….find where the ball is going on a cross, head it back across the goal, score. It doesn’t get much simpler and efficient for that. Clints, “nose” where the ball is.

• West Ham, off the 1-1 draw to the Blues, has back-to-back games Sunday and Monday. So you’re likely to see Jonathan Spector, however with Faubert and Ilunga doing nothing short of a stellar job against the Chelsea attack, that backline looks set for West Ham.

• We know, we know. DaMarcus Beasley for president–another goal and assist. I guess that’s what happens when you’re very fresh from resting. Here’s the latest entry in the Beasley scrapbook:

• I don’t often root against Americans, but I sort of did this week. Bus loads of Woverhampton fans made the trek last weekend, only too see the Wanderers’ “B” squad up against Manchester United. Manager Mick McCarthy got–and TSG thinks he deserved–some serious guff for not playing his regulars. I would have liked nothing better than a Wolverhampton to lose at home to Burnley. Not in the cards, and USMNT’s Marcus Hahnemann turns away 5 shots-on. Kudos.

You don’t think a handful of World Cup-bound nattie teams would want Hahney in contention for their goal spot. Maybe let’s start with, oh, England or France? Gotta be embarrassing if you’re Robert Green and you get beaten three times on the same penalty (Lampard this Saturday), no?

• I can’t wait to see this Landon Donovan-Luis Saha pairing. Saha is at the top of his game….

• The Jay DeMerit locomotive is gather speed, another 90 in the middle for the stalwart as fellow interior man Carlos Bocanegra sits for Rennes. That’s now two straight games that Boca doesn’t make the starting 11 for Rennes when available….yikes!

• We’re calling it! Our next weekend update leads with “Maurice Edu in the 18 for Rangers and……”

(UPDATE: According to Mr. DaMarcus For President, Edu’s getting run out in a reserve game today….)

Rumors, Playing Time & An Elf That Can Cross It

There is a good chance we’re getting the USMNT Jan camp roster announcement tomorrow I would surmise.

A few pre-Friday weekend bullets for you:

• Jack Rodwell goes off with an injury for Everton yesterday. Ayegbeni Yakubu headed to the African Cup. Oh yeah, Landon Donovan is going to get run…real soon.

No automatic joy ahead at West Ham for Specs this January....

• Speaking of Everton, iron man Tim Howard given the day off Thursday (thankfully) in the Europa League, now ready to take on red-red-hot Birmingham Saturday in the Premiership.

• Jay DeMerit playing for more than country pride in South Africa. With DeMerit out of contract at the end of the season and his club Watford headed to administration, there’s a great shot that DeMerit will have a new club at the end of the year. Audition time!

• Jerome Rothen, who we mentioned in our Stuie article this week, apparently leaving the Rangers according to many sources. Rothen plays on the wing….hmm….Stu, you made that decision yet? Door’s open…

• USMNT now officially to face the Netherlands in Stonerville in March; it’s confirmed. The news went around everywhere this week….I thought we confirmed this game a long time ago, no….nope? did we space….damn I’ve got the munchies….if you’re headed to Holland though, three tips for you: 1) Rent a bike. 2) Try the fries 3) Check out the graffiti…some of the absolute best in the world and 4) Coffee shop does not mean coffee shop.

• The American Outlaws Seattle chapter found a story yesterday that suggests a US friendly against Tunisia in May. We’re passing it along. In our mind it was either Morocco, who the US lost to in Nashville right before the ’06 World Cup, or Tunisia to prepare for the Algerians, so this sounds plausible.

• More on how the African Cup impacts USMNT player fortunes in club ball next month:

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