FAMILIARITY KEY TO ALTIDORE GOAL
Jozy Altidore may have seen limited league action in Spain this past year, but the time spent in training while at Villarreal CF would end up being a key component to his first half goal in Wednesday's Confederations Cup semifinal.
Altidore's strike against Spain in the 26th minute came at the expense of his Villarreal teammate Joan Capdevila who was overpowered by the New Jersey native and left to watch the young striker beat Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas for the game's first goal.
The unused Xerez loanee admits that the time he spent playing against Capdevila during Villarreal's practice sessions paid dividends Wednesday evening.
"Clint played me a great ball in and I was able to get my body in between the ball and Capdevila and get loose," Altidore told YA following Wednesday's triumph. "I think it really helped that I know Capdevila and his tendencies from practicing against him at Villarreal."
It was thoroughly chronicled that Spain was on an unprecedented march to break the international unbeaten match streak of 35, however Altidore notes that he was not even aware of the apparent coronation that he and his teammates would end up spoiling.
"I didn't even know about that 35 match unbeaten streak until someone told me. Soccer is a sport that it only matters who brings it that day," continued the ex-New York Red Bull.
Wednesday's victory will go down in US Soccer lore as the Red, White and Blue have now qualified for their first ever final of a FIFA tournament, yet the outlook of 'El Toro' remains grounded.
"It's a great day for US Soccer and hopefully it will take some of the weight off of our shoulders. We're used to the underdog role and I think during next summer's World Cup, teams will think twice when they see us in their group. They won't look at us as a soft opponent so we'll have to bring it more," added Altidore.
Paired with the dangerous Charlie Davies up front, Altidore and the Hammarby striker were a thorn in the side of the Spanish defense allowing the rest of the 'Nats to execute their game plan of disrupting the rythmn of the Spanish attack.
The first ever American to score in Spain's La Liga readily agreed that played a huge part in Wednesday's victory.
"They were frustrated early. Our aggression really frustrated them. We never let them play how they wanted to play."
As for the future of the Stars and Stripes striker at the club level, there have been rumors of a loan to Premiership club Fulham yet according to Altidore, it appears he will return to the Castellon province to play his home matches in Estadio Madrigal.
"As far as I know I believe I am going back to Villarreal," he confirmed.
Altidore and his teammates will square on Sunday in Johannesburg against the winner of Thursday's Brazil-South African semifinal.