Jozy Altidore scored his first goal for Sunderland Tuesday in the Capital One Cup. It was an important goal, too, as it helped Sunderland erase a 2-0 deficit over the final 12 minutes of the match and win 4-2 against MK Dons. The American striker also had the assist on Connor Wickham’s go-ahead goal.
The official match report from Sunderland’s website described the goal, which comes around the 0:25-mark of the video above, thusly:
"The USA front man latched on to Wickham’s through pass and slid the ball past McLoughlin from close range."
If you want to be cynical and downplay a goal against League One opposition … on a Tuesday night … in England’s second-tier cup competitions, it’s within your rights. A goal is still a goal and Altidore’s form has American fans excited — for a change — about the World Cup next summer.
Many also worried about Altidore moving back to England after a failed stint at Hull City where he scored only once in Premier League action during the 2009-10 season. Those fears should be allayed with Altidore starting both EPL games for Sunderland so far, along with this cup match.
If anything, worry about manager Paolo Di Canio’s system, which has often left the American striker isolated alone up top in a 4-4-1-1 system. As we’ve seen, Altidore needs service and support from his teammates to thrive. Reading through Twitter chatter it sounds like the game changed when Wickham, once a highly touted future England international prospect, came on in the 49th minute. Perhaps down the road Di Canio will pair the two players up top at the start of a match.
This is still a different, better Altidore than in 2009. His physicality alone makes him a threat for opposing defenses. The U.S. National Team plays at Costa Rica next Friday in a return match for the infamous “snow game” in Colorado. Altidore will enter the game having scored in five straight internationals.