With just a few games to go till playoff time, the race for the last several playoff positions has turned results topsy-turvy. Teams that seemed destined for the bottom are suddenly getting results, and surging teams are now dropping points. There’s also been space for American players to shine in all the madness, and this weekend was no exception.
Jozy Keeps It Up
Jozy Altidore returned to a still-Giovinco-less Toronto FC in a tough matchup on the road with a Chicago team that has had a knack for clawing some tough results away from opponents in recent weeks, and promptly led the Reds to a 2-1 victory with a goal...
Sean Johnson gets the secondary assist for some truly putrid distribution there.
Some have called this the form of Altidore’s life, even trumping the 30+ goal campaign in the Netherlands due to all the things he’s added to his game in addition to getting his goals. U.S. fans will probably always be waiting for the injury bug to drop until he can go a full season or two without being sidelined for months at a time, but in the meantime, we will take this Jozy.
You Say You Want a Revolution
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the woeful state of the New England Revolution, and how the addition of Kei Kamara has severely hampered Lee Nguyen’s role in the side. Kamara was away on national team duty the past couple weeks, which opened up a spot up top for a healthy Juan Agudelo to return to his striker role. That move looks pretty good at the moment, as the Revs have won their last two games against probable playoff-bound Colorado Rapids and NYCFC.
Technically Nguyen played as a second forward, but that label more or less gave him the freedom to roam around wherever he liked in the attacking midfield, connecting with Agudelo and finding pockets of space. I know it’s a small sample size, but Nguyen’s goal in this game just doesn’t happen with Kamara out there. Kelyn Rowe would be looking to loft the ball between the penalty spot and the six. Instead, he cuts inside, plays a cross on the ground behind Agudelo, whose drawn two defenders, and Nguyen is there to finish the dummy. As for Agudelo, he has two goals and an assist in his last two games. Most seem to think the international ship has sailed for him, but at only 23 years old and the amount of talent everyone knows he has, it’s hard to see him not getting a look in a January camp in the coming years. If he stays settled and gets more consistent as a matures as a player, I wouldn’t bet against him.
Hamid Is a Bad, Bad Man
Bill Hamid was pretty honest with the media after DC United’s draw with New York Red Bulls, shouldering the blame for a Bradley Wright-Phillips goal and not being quick to accept plaudits for the game.
But man. Bill. Freaking. Hamid.
So, yes, DC did give up two goals to the Red Bulls. But I can think of maaaybe two or three other keepers in MLS who make all of the saves that Hamid made in this game, and pretty much nobody is doing it on the routine basis that he does, due to DC having an almost non-existent defensive midfield. Without Hamid, this game easily ends 4-0 or 5-0 Red Bulls. With him, DC manages to fight back for a draw at Red Bull Arena. Jurgen Klinsmann has been very vocal as of late with his disappointment that no one has stepped up in the generation between Brad Guzan and Tim Howard and the young pros like Ethan Horvath to push the top two guys out of their spots. Hamid isn’t a perfect keeper, but at 25, I wouldn’t feel too uncomfortable to see him starting a few games for the USMNT.
And One Last Thing