Jozy Altidore was sent home from U.S. Men’s National Team roster, currently competing in the COCACAF Gold Cup. Officially the reason was thought to be a persistent hamstring injury obtained in Brazil last year, but Jurgen Klinsmann just spoke to reporters saying, “We believe that Jozy’s just not there yet.”
Klinsmann also went on to say, “Jozy never really got into this tournament, he never kind of picked up the rhythm. He’s simply not in the shape right now to help us.”
Altidore has not looked to be at the top of his game throughout the group stages of the Gold Cup, but most were surprised when he was sent home today to be replaced by Alan Gordon, the 33-year-old L.A. Galaxy player.
Gordon has only played one game for the USMNT, coming on as a substitute against Antigua and Barbuda in 2012 where he sent an assist to Eddie Johnson who scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time. However this is not the first time that Gordon has been called to the USMNT for the knockout rounds of a Gold Cup, he also was brought on to the team in 2013 but did not see any playing time as the U.S. went on to win the title.
Although Gordon does not have experience scoring goals for the United States, he does have experience scoring goals in MLS. He has totaled 70 goals from 258 appearances and Klinsmann thinks he can step up right away and be a game changer.
Since injuring his hamstring in the United State’s first game of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Altidore has had a tough time playing his best soccer. He left the Premier League after a difficult stretch with Sunderland where he earned 42 appearances and only 1 goal, for MLS’s Toronto FC where he has currently earned 12 appearances with 6 goals.
Despite Altidore’s improving form since returning to MLS, Klinsmann is only focused on winning the Gold Cup that would allow the U.S. to compete in the Confederation’s Cup in Russia 2017. Many of Klinsmann’s critics say that this win is essential for Klinsmann’s job security despite signing a contract extension through 2018. If Klinsmann had time to develop and help Altidore return to 100%, surely he would be able to remain on the roster but Klinsmann does not have that luxury.