Altidore's club hopes could ride on Algeria outing
It seems very safe to say that most 20-year old Americans won't have quite as much riding on their Wednesday as does Jozy Altidore.
The US striker will be key to World Cup advancement hopes against Algeria, andhen could be playing for his next club assignment under the watchful eyes of some of Europe's top clubs.
First things must come first, though, and Altidore's primary mission in Pretoria will be to help the 'Nats defeat the Desert Foxes to secure a place in the round of 16. As pitifully displayed by England, that might be easier said than done.
Regardless of who coach Bob Bradley picks to ride shotgun with Altidore, he will need to bring his engine. He did well to wear down the Slovenia center backs before eventually serving up the key knockdown for Michael Bradley's equalizer.
Algeria, luckily, are prone to conceding the same weak side runners - a method of scoring in the run of play not unfamiliar to the Americans. Altidore can plot his goal approach accordingly, on or off the ball.
This can be an especially fruitful idea to keep in mind when running opposite post from Landon Donovan, who draws the defense like a magnet and can deliver the accurate final ball.
Of course, the New Jersey-born forward can expect a few rough rides on hold-up duty against the accomplished and aggressive Algeria central defense. Altidore was suffering from stomach woes on Tuesday, so Bradley wisely kept his top gun out of training to rest up.
Thinking beyond Wednesday's match, the youngster will also hope to clarify his club status with a strong (and prolonged) World Cup showing. With loan employers Hull City relegated to the Championship in England, it seems quite unlikely that they will take up their purchase option by month's end.
With proper owners Villarreal, view of his future is cloudy. It may well be that the quality of Altidore's World Cup outings could convince manager Juan Carlos Garrido of where the American belongs - one way or the other.
The Yellow Submarines have waved goodbye to Joseba Llorente, which theoretically would leave Altidore third on the depth chart behind Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi. However, the club is also high on youngsters Jefferson Montero and Marco Ruben.
While Spanish outlet Nostre Sport has reported that Villarreal definitely want to bring Altidore back into their strike stable, there is also plenty of interest in his services across Europe.
"Right now, everything's a possibility," Altidore rep Lyle Yorks told MLSsoccer.com. "There's interest for transfers, and there's also the possibility of a loan."
The agent confirmed that Altidore has prospective suitors in England, the Netherlands and Spain. MLSsoccer.com has
also learned that Ajax, Celtic and Espanyol are among the gaggle of clubs with
scouts in South Africa to watch the U.S. #17 shirt.