BY PATRICK MacDONALD
The United States Men’s National team had a historic win last Wednesday against Mexico, but the good news didn’t stop there.
With the European leagues getting under way, many USMNT players are getting back to work. Two key players with ties to the Garden State have hit the ground running; North Brunswick’s Tim Howard, and Livingston native Jozy Altidore.
Howard’s stellar week started in Estadio Azteca. True to his big game form, he stood on his head as he repelled the Mexican attack, staring down a few point blank shots very late in the game. He finished the night with 3 saves securing a historic win for the United States.
He didn’t stop there.
Yesterday, Howard opened the English Premier League season with his club team Everton against the daunting Manchester United. Howard had yet another big game performance, facing 14 shots from Man U while saving the 4 that were on target. Howard once again made a big goal count as his club won it’s first (and one of it’s toughest matches), securing an early 3 points.
Jozy Altidore is also off to an extremely fast start over in the Netherlands as well. Altidore is coming off a none-too-shabby first season in the Dutch league where he scored 19 goals across all competitions for his club AZ Alkmaar.
That being said, Jozy had a rough summer. In preparation for World Cup qualifying, he was released late for availability to the national team by his club, in the process, losing his starting job to Herculez Gomez. With reports coming out of camp that Altidore was also out of shape, things were not looking good for the young striker.
Perhaps that incident/embarrassment lit yet another fire under Altidore as he is off to a blazing hot start. Altidore has scored 4 goals in the first two games of the new Eredivisie season. It’s hard to imagine him keeping up such a pace, but it is nonetheless good news for both his club and country.
Altidore and Howard are both key figures for the U.S. National team. It’s always good for any national team player to have good club form before showing up for country.
Should their form continue, the U.S. will be in good hands when qualifying resumes in a little over two weeks.