If 2011-2012 was the club breakout of Jozy Altidore, then call the coming 12 months his explosion on the international stage. The young striker — he’s still only 22 — is ready to dominate United States national team opponents during World Cup qualifying and beyond.
It’s been a journey for the former New York Red Bull. Altidore always had the physical talents, but struggled with the positional aspects of the game. He’s learning, saying as much to FIFA: “I’m a lot more mature today and that’s crucial in terms of better understanding and reading the game.”
He’s finally comfortable in a club situation and finding playing time with AZ. Altidore rewarded the Dutch club’s faith with 15 goals. (Ernie Stewart is the technical director.)
Now, it’s time to bring that success to the Stars and Stripes. We saw glimpses during the Gold Cup and against Italy of Altidore’s improved hold-up play, decision-making, and movement. He will continue to thrive under Jurgen Klinsmann.
“He’s giving us a different approach. It’s new for all of us, but he’s positive all the time and that’s important for the squad. His training sessions are very different from what we’ve known before. They’re more intense as well. We’re now doing two sessions a day during our get-togethers,” Altidore told FIFA.
One note did stick out: “I’m lucky enough to have had great coaches to help me improve, like Manuel Pellegrini and Bruce Arena. I’ve been able to take advantage of each season to learn and heed the lessons, but it was when I finally had the chance to play that I was able to express myself.”
Arena? That’s an… interesting choice.
New York City FC has found its feet pretty well in MLS, and the club could finally be closing in on a location for its own stadium moving forward.
Newsday Sports is reporting that NYCFC is prepared to bid on land at Belmont Park as the club continues its search to find a permanent stadium for its future.
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The report also states that Belmont isn’t NYCFC’s preferred destination to play matches, with the stadium in Elmont — roughly an 18-mile distance from the club’s current venue, Yankee Stadium.
In the past, Flushing Meadows has been one of many sites discussed as a location for NYCFC to build its own venue, which would make sense given the fact that the land currently houses the New York Mets as well as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
NYCFC has shared Yankee Stadium with MLB franchise, New York Yankees, since the MLS side entered the league in 2015.
A move to Belmont could hinge on what the New York Islanders of the NHL do moving forward as well because the hockey team is reportedly looking at options outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they currently play.
Round two of the UEFA Champions League is back on Tuesday, and while clubs cannot book their place in the Round of 16 just yet it’s just as easy for them to put themselves out of contention.
Three Premier League sides will be action on the afternoon, including Tottenham — who has the chance to start Group H play with six points.
Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City will also take the pitch in Group E and F, respectively.
The day’s biggest clash of the day though comes in Germany as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid meet in the other Group H fixture. Dortmund will be looking for a positive result after falling to Spurs in their opening day loss in the competition.
[ MORE: Who is the most complete striker in the Premier League? ]
Here’s the full rundown of matches on Tuesday’s UCL docket.
All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Maribor
Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli vs. Feyenoord
Besiktas vs. Red Bull Leipzig
Monaco vs. Porto
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
APOEL vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The New Orleans Saints will be playing a different sort of football on Sunday at historic Wembley Stadium, but the NFL franchise took in Arsenal’s match today during their trip to London.
[ MORE: PL playback — Who is the most complete striker in the PL? ]
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees posted a picture on Instagram with several of his Saints teammates taking in the Arsenal-West Brom fixture at the Emirates Stadium six days before the NFL team plays the Miami Dolphins.
The Saints-Dolphins matchup is the second NFL game to take place in England thus far in 2017, after the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7, on Sunday at Wembley.
Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to Arsenal’s 2-0 win over West Brom, Brighton’s 1-0 victory against Newcastle and get into a deep discussion over the plethora of strikers in the Premier League.
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