Jozy Altidore can't stop scoring, at least when he is playing for AZ Alkmaar and not for the United States. On Sunday, Altidore netted a hat trick for AZ, going from joint-top of the scoring list in the Eredivisie to three goals clear of his closest competitor after five matches.
That is more of the same from AZ Altidore, who is nothing like U.S. Altidore. You see a good first touch there, an ability to finish with both feet and some very smart runs. Admittedly, the Eredivise is not known for its great defenses, but these are still skills that Altidore used to be blasted for lacking and now he's got them down pat. He shows them off week in, week out.
The question is when Altidore can show off these skills in a U.S. shirt, especially after 82 minutes of listless, service-less play last week. On one hand, it should be a pretty easy transition for Altidore because AZ plays with similar channels of attack that Jurgen Klinsmann wants from his U.S. team. At the very least, Altidore will be working in the same spaces.
The difference is that AZ plays much quicker than the U.S. and with the way Klinsmann emphasizes short passing, the quick transitions of AZ are unlikely to ever become a regular method of attack for the Americans. Unfortunately, that might be the key to Altidore's AZ success as he floats around and puts himself in positions to exploit back pedaling and less athletic defenders. Altidore would have to work much harder to fit in with Klinsmann's system, which isn't exactly his forte.
Will Klinsmann change or will Altidore find a way to work in a slower tempo system where he has to work harder? If neither can, the prolific striker who leads the Eredivisie in goals will never play for the U.S.