Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Altidore unflustered after ending goal drought

SoccerNews in MLS 8 Jun 2014

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USA striker Jozy Altidore said his drought-breaking brace in Saturday’s friendly win over Nigeria ‘makes no difference’ to his confidence.

The focus on the strikers in Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad, or lack thereof, has been a point of contention after long-time servant Landon Donovan was deemed surplus to requirements for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Altidore is one of four forwards at Klinsmann’s disposal, alongside Clint Dempsey, Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski, but the Sunderland man had gone without a goal in six internationals before his double in Jacksonville.

The 24-year-old said he felt there was more to his game than just goals.

“To be honest, it makes no difference,” Altidore said, when asked about the effect the goals would have on his confidence.

“I’ve played for this team for such a long time now that I think it’s my responsibility to help the team in other ways: tracking back and being someone that younger guys can look up to.

“I take that very seriously.”

The USA beat Nigeria 2-1, a result Altidore was content with ahead of his side’s World Cup opener against Ghana on June 16.

“Nigeria is very similar to Ghana,” Altidore said.

“If we can emulate this performance against a team pretty similar to Nigeria in Ghana, we can start the group off the right way.

“We all want to get out of the group. That’s a goal of ours. I think the opportunity is there.”

Seattle Sounders frontman Dempsey said simply tasting victory, which the US have done three times in succession since a 2-2 draw with Mexico, was the perfect preparation.

“It feels good that we are playing well and our hard work is paying off,” Dempsey said.

“It’s still going to be a lot different when we go down to Brazil because that’s the big stage.

“That’s where it all matters. It’s good to go in with that confidence, with that sharpness and feeling good and having that confidence from those three wins.”

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