He may not be leading the team in scoring, but Jozy Altidore has done a lot off the scoresheet.
A player like Jozy Altidore was brought to Toronto FC in hopes the club could finally have a reliable striker that continuously put up goals. When the American first joined TFC last season, he struggled to score at times, leaving fans angered.
However, his 11 league goals is enough to say he had a decent season, considering he missed some time with nagging injuries. Not to mention fans were okay with Sebastian Giovinco scoring 22 goals and winning the MLS Golden Boot.
Going into this season, Altidore was faced with a problem he and others knew needed to be solved. He wanted to lose weight and become slimmer. He wanted to work on his injuries and not miss time. Although he would miss the clubs first couple games due to a hamstring injury he picked up while with the U.S national team.
Since joining his team on March 20 against Sporting Kansas City, Altidore has had trouble getting back to his scoring ways. He has no goals and no assists so far, but has created a goal scoring chance in every game he’s played in. In an interview with ESPN, Altidore mentioned how he is happy to change his style of play to help Giovinco become the focal point of the teams attack.
“I think if you look around the league in the past, yeah, I’m a striker, but I’m playing with one of the most special talents this league’s ever seen, and you’ve got to change your game a little bit if you want to play alongside a talent like that and still find a way help the team. And I’m doing that,” said Altidore.
Going into the season, head coach Greg Vanney wanted to change his teams shape and style. He wanted to implement a 4-3-3 and allow the defence to become stronger. This meant that Altidore needed to change the way he played so the team could try something new. So far, that has worked. Altidore has seen less chances on goal, but he has been able to bring all of teammates into the opponents attacking third. Even though he hasn’t scored yet, his body is a big presence up top, leaving defenders to focus on him. This then allows space for Giovinco or anyone else to open up and have chances.
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In the game against the Montreal Impact, Altidore drew a penalty. Normally some would think he would take it since he drew it and he is the team’s striker. However, he unselfishly gave it the ‘Atomic Ant’ and he put TFC up top.
Even in the D.C United match, it was Altidore who made the initial cross and was looking for a teammate at the other side of the net. That is when Giovinco scored the fastest goal in team history.
MLS analyst Matthew Doyle even mentioned in a article about ‘fundamental work of #9’, that Altidore is the team’s ‘safety valve’ and how he can drag defences out of the central zone and open space for his teammates. The hold up play Altidore does as a number nine is key for the success of Toronto FC and a reason why he hasn’t scored yet.
His style and approach to the game has changed, allowing his team to equally have chances on goal and allow it to not just be the ‘Altidore and Giovinco show’. Some will say Altidore should leave and his tenure so far has been awful. Some say he has been doing great and deserves some praise. Both are valid reasons, but one thing that should be noted to the people who aren’t fond of the American, he has done key things that will not show up on the scoresheet.