Jozy Altidore Makes a Thumping Return to MLS


Mar 7, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) celebrates after a goal against Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted (not pictured) during the second half at BC Place. The Toronto FC won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

It was January 16 when Toronto FC officially announced they had made a swap with Sunderland to send Jermain Defoe to the other side of the pond for Jozy Altidore. Today, Jozy Altidore officially announced to MLS that he is back with a brace on the BC Place pitch against Vancouver Whitecaps.

After Vancouver took an early lead, it was Toronto FC’s designated players hooking up. Sebastian Giovinco, formerly of Juventus, found Jozy on a darting run into the box. The young American dribbled around Ousted and put the equalizer in.

With the Reds up 2-1 late in the match, Altidore drew a penalty as he was taken down in the box. He stepped up and was cool as a cucumber with the spot kick, calmly driving it by Ousted to put the match to bed.

Not only was Jozy able to show his finishing ability in the season opener for Toronto FC, but he also displayed his power and muscling ability to fight through tackles. On occasion, he came up to receive the ball and battled through a physical Vancouver defense to open up opportunities for his teammates. The American striker looked a completely different player from one that struggled through his second stint in the English Premier League, in what had to be a wonderful sight for all US Men’s National Team fans.

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Jozy Altidore began his career in the IMG Soccer Academy in 2004, which propelled to him playing for the New York Red Bulls in 2006 at the age of 16. After netting 15 times in 37 appearances and showing promise for the United States U-20 and U-23 sides, Villarreal purchased the striker and Altidore ventured to Europe at the tender age of 19 in what still stands as the largest transfer fee for an MLS player ($10 million).

Villarreal sent Altidore on loan, most notably to Hull City for the 2009-2010 season. Unfortunately, with the exception of a goal against Manchester City, the stiker left the Hull City fans wanting and came up empty handed in 28 matches.

After a few disappointing loans, Altidore was sold to AZ Alkmaar, where he was absolutely on fire scoring 39 times in 67 appearances. This led to a second stint in the EPL with Sunderland. Unfortunately, missed chances reared their ugly head again and Jozy only scored once in 42 appearances. That is 2 goals in 70 English appearances.

Mar 7, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie (28) battles for the ball against Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) during the second half at BC Place. The Toronto FC won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Opinion was split when Altidore decided to come back to MLS. One side of the argument is that he would no longer face Europe’s elite defenders. The other side of the argument is that Altidore still has developing to do at the age of 25 and he needs to score goals wherever he can to gain confidence. It’s not like MLS is a “Micky Mouse League” as tabbed by those who don’t watch enough of it.

Whichever side of the fence you may be on as a US Men’s National Team fan, Saturday’s display had to be pleasing. Jozy matched his EPL 70 match goal output in 90 minutes upon his return to MLS.

With the amount of hype that has surrounded Altidore in his career, it’s easy to forget he is only 25 years old. The more confidence he gains banging in goals, whatever league it may be in, the better it is for the US. His best form with the national team occurred during his stint at AZ. As US fans, of course unless he is playing against your MLS team, let’s hope Jozy Altidore can tear the MLS up again en route to a successful national team career.

Next: Landon Donovan Looks Back

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