Jozy Altidore back on U.S. team to face Russia

Jozy Altidore is back on the U.S. men's national team. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has recalled Altidore after leaving the forward off the roster for recent World Cup qualifying games. Photo: The Washington Times

WASHINGTON, November 12, 2012 — Jozy Altidore is back on the U.S. men’s national team. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has recalled Altidore after leaving the forward off the roster for two recent World Cup qualifying games. The Dutch league-based striker, who plays for AZ Alkmaar, has notched 12 goals in all competitions in Holland, including nine in the league.

“We are happy having Jozy back in the group,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously, he was left out of the last games against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala because of the way he played in Jamaica and maybe a couple other things from the previous months that I wasn’t so happy about. I mentioned it to him, and now having him back in the group gives us an opportunity to talk through that stuff and also to see his total commitment on the field.”

The 23-year-old has played 51 times for the U.S. team since 2007, notching 13 goals.

Klinsmann has called up 20 players for the team’s final game of 2012, a friendly against No. 9-ranked Russia in Krasnodar on Wednesday.

The American team comes to the end of the year, with its best winning percentage in the modern era, having posted a 9-2-2 record and a (.769) winning percentage.

“We ask for these games because they are big learning curves for us,” Klinsmann said. “We need to measure ourselves against the best teams out there and build even more confidence. We want to close the year in a very positive way and then go into a busy 2013 that includes World Cup qualifying, the Gold Cup and some exciting friendlies.”

Timmy Chandler, who has yet to commit himself to the U.S. team and could still play for Germany, is back in camp for the first time in a year. He is one of five players on the roster who earn their pay with German clubs in the Bundesliga.

“Timmy was always committed to the team,” Klinsmann said. “With his dual citizenship situation and having a choice, it’s a big, big decision. Timmy is maturing now. He’s becoming a better pro and a more mature player, and he knows now that once he makes the final decision that’s going to be his life.

“So I don’t want to put any pressure in a situation like that. The choice should come from the player. Obviously, there comes a time when there is no time left, and he knows that. We are thrilled that he is now back in the group.”

The U.S. team has never beaten Russia, which holds a 2-0-2 advantage in the series. This year, the U.S. team has already earned historic victories with wins on the road against Italy in Genoa and Mexico at Estadio Azteca.

Two players - Joshua Gatt and Joe Gyau - are making their first appearance in a senior team camp.

Klinsmann is testing out players for the Hexagonal (6-team) World Cup qualifying round that begins at Honduras on Feb. 6.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna)

For 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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