As the debate and discussion goes on of the United States forward situation – delicious, isn’t it? – there might be some over-thinking going on.
U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann certainly trimmed some of the fat from this issue yesterday when he threw down the bottom line on Eddie Johnson’s re-introduction into the national team:
He has proved in the past that he can score goals, and we need goals.”
Of course, playing a 32-paneled devil’s advocate here, Jozy Altidore has proven he can score goals, too. A whole bunch of them in the Dutch Eredivisie – more than anyone else this year, in fact, which makes him the league’s leading scorer.
“USA! … USA! …”
And then again, Johnson has found goal in the U.S. shirt before; the Sounders’ striker has 12 in 42 full international appearances.
That’s only slightly better than Altidore’s hit rate: 13 goals in 51 appearances. (By the way, Altidore is 22 years old and has 51 international appearances for a country that hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1986. That ain’t bad. At all.)
We know the Altidore vs. Johnson debate is about something else, of course. It’s Klinsmann’s big gamble. It’s the coach’s bid to get more from Altidore. It’s Klinsmann’s way of goosing the AZ Alkmaar man, of inspiring him to motivate himself. As motivational gambits go, it’s a big one.
But as I said before, this is all about creating the best team for the summer of 2014, not for October of 2012.
In the meantime, the coach has identified someone who has proven “that he can score goals.”
If we’re being honest, that’s something the manager’s U.S. roster assemblies over the last 15 months have frequently had trouble with.