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Jozy Altidore: EPL no more...

Altidore striking an all-too-familiar pose...which is just
about all he seemed to strike in 2014.
Looks like Jozy Altidore's time in a Sunderland AFC jersey is over....as well as (probably) his career as a European footballer. The first observation is a fact: he's coming back to the U.S. to play for Toronto FC of the MLS. The second observation -- regarding his career as a European footballer -- is just a guess. But after his mediocre performance at Sunderland in 2014, it feels like he's coming back to the MLS to lick his wounds. And if that's the case, he's not going back to Europe.

He's 25 years old. His knowledge of the game, his finesse, his creativity might improve from here, but at 25 his physical prowess isn't going to get any better. If he couldn't produce in the EPL, a more physical league than the MLS, he's not going back at age 28 or 30.

I'm late to the game on Altidore; my burgeoning soccer fandom has come about a year too late to experience the Jozy Altidore of legend. And therefore I've never been especially impressed by his play. He looks like a fish out of water (a shark out of water) on an EPL pitch; he just can't seem to finish anymore. It's like he just doesn't have that missing "it" to make it in the English League. And in the World Cup he got injured in the first game against Ghana so I barely got to see him play then.

So...I don't know what's to be made of Altidore, ultimately. But this definitely feels like he's hit on the wrong side of his peak right now. But frankly I really hope that's not the case, because in 2018 he's going to be 29 and could potentially be a real leader for the USMNT at the World Cup in Russia.

Who knows? 2014 could have just been a bad year for Altidore. I hope so and I hope his time in the MLS helps him get his confidence and his finish back. Cause the last few times I've seen him play he couldn't finish a jelly donut, and we need him on the national team.

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