Remember when U.S. soccer leagues once looked overseas for the game-changers, lo scouring leagues in Europe and elsewhere for the stars around which to build their teams?
How’s this for a switcheroo? Because things do seem to be changing when Americans are leading one of Europe’s prominent leagues in scoring.
Jozy Altidore’s weekend hat trick for AZ Alkmaar has the U.S. international out front in the Dutch Eredivisie scoring race.
“It was a special day for me, but must importantly the team played very well,” Altidore said of the hat trick against Roda in the ESPN Soccernet report linked above.
Altidore has sometimes struggled to get a toehold at his various club addresses. But here’s the thing: he started so early that we tend to forget, the New Jersey native is only 22 years old. So if he didn’t come in and immediately set the soccer nation ablaze during stops in Villarreal, Hull City and elsewhere … well, was it really such a devastating turn?
At any rate, he did get that toehold last year – and then some. In his first season at AZ, Altidore led the team in scoring with 22 goals across all competitions. His 15 strikes in league play was good enough seventh in Eredivisie goal scoring.
So, expect us to check back often as Altidore completes his second season under manager Gertjan Verbeek.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.