Jozy Altidore Counters Racist Dutch Fans with Goal, Assist, Dignity

In a Dutch Cup match yesterday against second-tier Den Bosch and their bottom-tier fans, AZ Alkmaar’s U.S. striker Jozy Altidore was subjected to racist chants and abuse.

In addition to reportedly persuading the referee, who was prepared to call off the game, to continue it, Altidore responded by scoring a goal, setting up another, and then giving the following interview after AZ’s 5-0 victory:

AC Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng had his way of handling this particular sickness earlier in the month, Altidore has his. They’re both justified, and they’re both dignified.

What’s really needed is for Sepp Blatter and FIFA to stop making fatuous pronouncements from on high, and to get in the trenches and do something tangible to confront this problem head on.

Altidore’s goal was his 20th of the season in all competitions—a career high—and his eighth in his last six games. He’s tied for second in the league in scoring, and he’ll be suiting up for the U.S. in next Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

Eredivisie Cranks Out Lightly Racist “B.A. Baracus” YouTube Clip for Jozy Altidore

U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore doesn’t look all that much like Laurence Tureaud, the actor known as Mr. T,  who played B.A. Baracus on the laughable, lovable mid-1980s TV show The A-Team.

But to the goofy Dutch journalist who did a recent postgame interview with the former MLSer, well, the two are dead ringers. The lame comparison, awkwardly made (though graciously handled by Altidore), has spawned the following A-Team themed clip from YouTube channel Eredivisie Live:

We get it, AZ Alkmaar are an A-team, and Altidore is African-American, just like Mr. T, but … come on. This is weak sauce. (And just for the record, the catchphrase was “I pity the fool,” not “Shut up, fool.”)

But hey, nice goals! Here’s to many more this season.

Jozy Altidore Has Scored 70% of His Team’s Goals this Season

The burly U.S. international may have had a quiet couple of World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica last week, but Jozy Altidore’s club form remains at an Everest-like peak. This weekend he bagged three goals and an assist in AZ Alkmaar’s 4-0 demolition of Roda JC.

Five games into the season, the former New York Red Bull has seven of his team’s 10 goals, and three more than anyone else in the Eredivisie.

He scored two goals with his left foot, one with his right, and his passing, movement, and finishing were on point. See here:

If he weren’t stranded up top so much with the U.S. national team, we’d be willing to bet he’d start pumping them in at a similar rate for the Stars and Stripes.

Jozy Altidore On Pace for 68-goal Season

U.S. fans take note: Your national team resumes World Cup qualifying in a couple of weeks—taking on Jamaica in a home-and-home set on Sept 7 and 11—and while they may not have in-limbo attacker Clint Dempsey for those matches, they should have striker Jozy Altidore, whose current form suggests he’s more than capable of filling the goal-scoring void left by the disgruntled Fulham star.

Altidore struck two more times this past weekend, leading AZ Alkmaar to a 3-1 win over Heracles and matching his two-goal performance on opening day against Ajax.

All he has to do is keep this up the rest of the way and he’ll bank a record 68 goals.

Highlights here:

Two thoughts on this clip:

1) How good is the Dutch Eredivisie, really? Not to take away from Altidore’s performances—and plenty of players have jumped from the Eredivisie to top leagues in Europe—but is Heracles really that much better than say, Toronto FC? Their defense, especially on Alkmaar’s second goal, is enough to make you wonder.

2) Maybe it’s our long history with Fahrenheit, but does the Celsius temperature scale seem wanting to you? Lacks the descriptive power of Fahrenheit, where a hot day can climb into the 90s or 100s. That 30-degree Celsius pregame reading in Alkmaar? Not very impressive. (And it translates to roughly 88 Fahrenheit, which is not that hot—especially for Altidore, who grew up in humid New Jersey and sizzling Florida, two locations where the heat calls for the more finely calibrated Fahreneit system to accurately reflect just how miserable you are in it.)

This Little Guy Was Ready for Euro 2012

Too bad his team wasn’t:

That’s pretty good, and pretty damn cute.

But what happened to the Clockwork Orange yesterday against Germany? They played so well at the start, and then their defenders (goalkeeper included) decided to go all Matador D on Mario Gomez.

As Backpost reader Tango said, the coach should show them the above clip for motivation before they face Portugal. They need to beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. by two goals, and hope Denmark loses to Germany, to reach the quarterfinals.

Altidore Crushes Goal-of-the-Year Candidate in Alkmaar Loss

AZ Alkmaar’s U.S. striker Jozy Altidore bagged his 14th goal of season, and 18th in all competitions, when he drilled a 25-yard shot into the upper 90 against PSV Eindhoven on Saturday.

Unfortunately for the 22-year-old former Red Bull forward, his side gave up a late goal and lost the game 3-2 to fall six points behind first-place Ajax in the Eredivisie standings.

Here is Altidore’s strike:

PSV’s late winner was the second straight last-gasp goal AZ has conceded in the season’s stretch run. Last week they gave up an 89th-minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw with FC Twente.

Altidore Bags Two, But AZ Gives Up Crucial Late Equalizer to FC Twente

U.S. midfielder Jozy Altidore scored two goals—giving him 13 in the league and 17 across all competitions this season—but AZ Alkmaar surrendered a 90th-minute goal to FC Twente and dropped into a 2-2 tie that left them three points behind league-leaders Ajax, and two ahead of Twente in a crowded stretch run atop the Dutch Eredivisie.

A win would have kept them within a point of Ajax, which routed Herenveen 5-0, and put them five ahead of Twente. The first-place finisher gets a berth in the UEFA Champions League, while the second-place team enters Champions League qualifying, and third and fourth play in the Europa League. There are five games remaining in the Dutch season.

Here are the AZ–FC Twente highlights:

With Altidore’s goal-scoring resurgence, and the recent hot streaks of Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez, the U.S. strike force is looking pretty good lately.

And it was a solid Wednesday overall for Yanks Abroad as Fabian Johnson scored for Hoffenheim in their 4-0 win over Hamburg, Timmy Chandler set up a goal in FC Nurnberg’s 4-1 triumph over Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04, and Sacha Kljestan had an assist in RSC Anderlecht’s 4-1 win over Mix Diskerud and KAA Gent.

How Cool Is This?

Our pal George at Howler Magazine tipped us to this terrific piece of soccer art by Steve Welsh, a Middlesborough-based artist, fan, and proprietor of the site

Welsh just published a new project (go see it right here), which, in addition to the piece above, titled Johan Cruyff—My Turn, includes striking tributes to Mario Balotelli, Brian Laudrup, Leo Messi, Carlos Valderrama, and Bobby Charlton, among others. (We were partial to the Charlton “combover” and the “El Pibe.”)

Of the Cruyff-turn piece, Welsh says the following:

“A tribute to Dutch Master, Johan Cruyff. Basically I wanted to play with the idea of ownership regarding the Cruyff Turn, hence the copyright symbol. But I also wanted to show it in all its glory, especially as its original entrance to World Football was a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ 9-second affair.”

Here are the nine seconds he’s talking about:

The Cruyff Turn, as it came to be called, had never been seen before that moment. Now it’s a dribbling maneuver taught at the U8 level—and just one reason Cruyff is in the game’s pantheon.

You can buy Welsh’s creation as a framed art print or a stretched canvas. (It’d make a killer T-shirt too, but so far not available in that format.)

UPDATE: It is available in T-Shirt form. Right here. H/t to Abraham Thinkin’.

Altidore Scores in AZ Alkmaar Debut

Former Red Bulls striker Jozy Altidore wasn’t called in for Wednesday’s Mexico friendly, as new U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann opted to let the New Jersey native get settled with his new club, AZ Alkmaar of the Dutch Eredivisie—the fifth team Altidore has been with since leaving MLS in 2008.

That decision paid some short-term dividends on Sunday, when Altidore came on as a second-half sub and scored in the 80th minute, helping AZ to a 3-1 opening-day win over PSV Eindhoven.

Here’s the goal:

Nice darting run to beat the defender, and a solid finish.

Altidore was always a handful for defenders in his last two loan spells, at Hull and Bursaspor, but the goals were in short supply in those stints (one in 28 appearances for Hull, one in 12 for Bursaspor).

Now that he’s made a permanent move to the Netherlands and gotten off to a good start, maybe this is the season he breaks through and fulfills the potential he showed while scoring 15 goals in 37 appearances for New York from 2006 to ’08.

Altidore Joins Dutch Side AZ Alkmaar

U.S. striker Jozy Altidore confirmed it on his Twitter feed ten minutes ago: He’s joining AZ Alkmaar of the Dutch Eredivisie.

AZ will be the 21-year-old striker’s fourth team since he left MLS’s New York Red Bulls in 2008 for a record $10-million transfer fee, going to Villareal.

In addition to playing for the Yellow Submarine, Altidore has had loan spells at Hull City in the Premier League, and Bursaspor in the Turkish top flight. He scored one goal in 12 appearances for Bursaspor last season, and bagged two for the U.S. in this summer’s Gold Cup before going out with a hamstring injury in the quarterfinals against Jamaica.

Altidore did not say whether his deal with AZ was a loan or a permanent transfer.

What do you think of this move for Altidore? Do you see him thriving in the high-finesse Dutch league, or are you worried he’s become a journeyman at age 21? Let us know in the comments.