If only the U.S. national team could borrow some of Jozy Altidore’s goals from the Dutch league, what a happy man Jurgen Klinsmann would be.
Altidore scored his 31st goal of the season Thursday to lead AZ Alkmaar to its first Dutch Cup title in 31 years with a 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven. The win means Alkmaar will compete in the Europa League next season.
Altidore scored 23 goals in the league this season and eight in the Cup, setting a record for most goals by an American for a European club. Clint Dempsey previously held the record with 23 goals for Fulham in 2011-12.
“I’m just so happy to win something,” he told MLSSoccer.com. “I told the guys, it’s not every day you get in this position. You never know — I may never get this chance again in my career. It’s been a tough season, with a lot of ups and downs, but it’s great to win a championship.”
The question now is whether he can find the net as regularly when he puts on his USA jersey. The U.S. team has important World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras this summer, and the team needs his production. Klinsmann opens camp May 21 in Carson, Calif., but Altidore, who is from Boca Raton, might not be there for the start because Alkmaar probably won’t release him in time.
He hopes to be with the national team in time for a May 29 friendly against Belgium in Cleveland and a June 2 friendly against Germany in Washington. The World Cup qualifier against Jamaica is June 7.
Altidore’s success has led to rumors that he will be picked up by another club this summer, but Alkmaar general manager Earnie Stewart, the former U.S. national team player, told reporters in recent days that the Cheese Farmers (the team’s nickname) would like to keep him.
• Huge shoes to fill: Manchester United chose to go with David Moyes, another no-nonsense Scot, to replace legend Sir Alex Ferguson, who is retiring at age 71 after 26 years at the helm of the iconic club.
Moyes, 50, comes from Everton, where he spent 11 years making the most of what he had while working with a shoestring budget. When he took over the club, it was on the verge of relegation. Although it never won the Premier League title, Moyes made it respectable, typically finishing between fifth and seventh place.
“I am delighted that Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job,” Moyes said in a statement. “I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club. I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever. But the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn’t something that comes around very often.”
United could have made a bigger splash with a name such as Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho, but chose Moyes instead.
Expectations will be much higher at Old Trafford than they were at Everton. Ferguson led Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League titles and five FA Cups. United officials and players believe he is up to the challenge.
“We have secured a man who is committed to the long term and will build teams for the future as well as now,” said Bobby Charlton, a club director. “Stability breeds success. David has tremendous strength of character and recognizes the importance of bringing young players through and developing them alongside world-class talent.”