What was that Jozy Altidore scoreless streak again? What number of matches did the young United States striker reach without a goal in run of play?
Oh … never mind. It doesn’t matter anymore, because all that mess is irrelevant now, officially kaput! Altidore shook off the criticism and the meager run with a big performance Sunday, starting with an early goal where he did everything right.
And then he kept doing things right. This was easily Altidore’s most complete game under Klinsmann.
Altidore probably received more than his fair share of criticism for that went wrong Wednesday in the Belgian back alley beating. And all of that (Wednesday, the long stretch without U.S. goals) is not to mention this unpleasantness of 2012, which traced its roots back to this very time last year as Dutch club AZ Alkmaar put the striker in a bad spot by forcing him to rest rather than join the national team a little sooner.
So it was surely a massive relive when Altidore guided in that early goal at RFK Stadium, a technically perfect volley that came after such a shrewd bit of movement, playing just off Per Mertesacker shoulder and then drifting away from the big German center back at just the right moment.
From there, you could almost see this smoke ring of confidence around the man. He may have scored 31 times this year for the Dutch club, but he clearly needed just that one in a U.S. shirt.
Altidore’s passing was sharp. His movement off the ball was engaged and generally connected. And his desire to contest for balls help set the tone in Sunday’s result.
Altidore put all that together on the third U.S. goal, drifting into a good spot and then accepting Jermaine Jones’ swell pass near German goal before arranging Clint Dempsey.