CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Today was yet another chapter in the amazing goal scoring by American forwards in Europe and Mexico.
After Jozy Altidore's two-goal effort today against FC Twente, his tally on the season has risen to 17 in all competitions, making him the third American to move beyond the 15 goal mark this season.
Altidore's accomplishment has tied him for the most goals scored by an American in Holland, with Earnie Stewart who also scored 17 in his first season at Willem II over 20 years ago.
Adding Altidore's goals to Clint Dempsey's tally of 22 in all competitions, the top two American forwards have combined for 39 goals in all competitions this season, easily making it a record year for U.S. National Team forwards playing abroad. The pair are looking primed and ready to go for Wold Cup Qualifying as the road to Brazil begins in the summer.
To put their scoring rate in perspective, the four forwards on the 2002 World Cup roster, Brian McBride, Clint Mathis, Josh Wolff and Joe-Max Moore, combined for 31 club goals in the lead up to Qualifying for South Korea/Japan.
In the run up to the 2006 World Cup, the four forwards on that roster, McBride, Wolff, Eddie Johnson and Brian Ching combined for 43 goals, which was a good average that seemed set to make things interesting in Germany, though the story unfortunately played out a little differently than expected.
The National Team is benefiting from two veteran strikers still being young and in their prime, coming off of career seasons going into the Qualifying rounds. Herculez Gomez seems set to join in and make it a productive trio this summer, and his numbers in Mexico simply can not be ignored by Jurgen Klinsmann. His 18 goals in all competitions during the 2011/12 Apertura and Clausura have him next in line to break 20 goals this season, a feat never accomplished by an American playing abroad until Dempsey did so last week.
Throwing Gomez into the mix brings the goal total of what should be the three main American forwards going into qualifying up to 57, a staggering mark that once again seems to be brimming with promise.
With all the goals being scored for their clubs, it doesn't seem as though the National Team should have any offensive problems if the entire roster is together. Klinsmann has been struggling to put the best lineup on the field at once, but barring any injuries at the end of the season, he seems sure to be able to field his top lineup going into the May/June friendlies that will pave the way for the opening game of qualifying.
Goals are being scored left and right by Americans this season, and it only looks to continue.
Oh, and Fabian Johnson scored today, too.