US Men's National Team forward Jozy Altidore cannot stop scoring at the club level. Altidore buried a hat-trick and AZ Alkmaar strolled to a comfortable 4-0 win over Roda JC on Sunday. A brief match recap can be found here.
Altidore opened the scoring in the 13th minute. He began the scoring sequence with a first-touch layoff before sprinting toward the box. Viktor Elm played a through ball into the left portion of the penalty area, Altidore beat a defender to the ball, and he then slammed a strike past goalkeeper Filip Kurto and into the far corner of the net.
Altidore next made an impact on the match in the 29th minute. He accepted a cross while in the back-right portion of the box, and he then sent a low bouncing pass across the face of goal and between three defenders. Erik Falkenburg slid to tap the ball across the line, doubling the lead for the hosts.
Things got worse for the visitors five minutes before the break. Altidore called for the ball before timing a run into the box, and teammate Maarten Martens delivered an over the top pass that Altidore brought down before slipping a finish past Kurto. Sideline replays showed that Altidore did well to remain onside by about a step right as the pass was sent, and his tap-in all-but-earned AZ the win before the interval.
Altidore finish off his hat-trick 20 minutes into the second half. He began a give-and-go with Adam Maher on the cusp of the penalty area before slipping behind his marker. Maher connected with Altidore on a short pass, and the front man slid a far post shot that Kurto couldn't stop.
Numbers don't lie, as they say, and the Eredivisie scoring stats tell you all you need to know about Altidore's early-season form. He has thus far buried a league-high seven goals in just five games, and there is no reason to believe that he is going to slow down anytime soon. AZ will be away to NAC Breda next Sunday.
Altidore didn't score in his 83+ minutes of play for the USMNT during last week's 2014 World Cup qualifiers. The hope is that the 22-year old can remain in form with AZ leading up to October 12, when the United States travel to Antigua & Barbuda for their next qualifier. Altidore is not simply scoring "poacher's goals" while with AZ at the end of summer. He's making intelligent runs at ideal times, creating opportunities for teammates, and finishing chances better than is any other player in the league in mid-September. In short, the Altidore that took the field on Sunday is capable of scoring goals for the national team. If he can stay hot while overseas, I do believe that those goals will eventually come.