Had you wagered with any American soccer fan back in August that Landon Donovan would score his first Premier League goal before Jozy Altidore, he probably would have taken you up on it. You would have won that bet, too, as Altidore has struggled to find his form in his first Premier League season, leaving many Americans wondering why he hasn’t succeeded in England like he has in CONCACAF.
That might be changing. Since his return from compassionate leave in Haiti, Altidore’s form has soared, and he was rewarded today with his first Premier League goal in Hull City’s 2-1 upset of Manchester City.
Altidore opened his league account in the 31st minute, thanks in part to some fantastic hold-up play by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who collected the ball in the box with his back to the goal and set up the young American’s brilliant strike. It was Altidore’s second goal for Hull and his first since August 25, when he scored in a Carling Cup match against Southend United.
Altidore’s strike, however, was not the most brilliant of the day.
In the 54th minute, George Boateng scored his first goal for the Tigers with a spectacular volley that found its way through a crowd and into the top right-hand corner of the goal. Man City was able to pull one back five minutes later when Emmanuel Adebayor scored a mad scramble in front of Boaz Myhill’s goal, but that was all they could muster, as Hull City stayed on the front foot for most of the day and held Roberto Mancini’s side off at the end.
It was the second massive result of the week for Hull, who earned a 1-1 draw at home against league-leading Chelsea on Tuesday. Altidore and Vennegoor of Hesselink have started up front for Phil Brown for the last three games. The Tigers are unbeaten in those three and have lifted themselves 3 points clear of the relegation zone. Altidore won a penalty for Hull against Wolverhampton a week ago, which Stephen Hunt converted.
Will this forward tandem, combined with some excellent midfield play from Hunt, be enough to to keep Hull in the Premier League for another year? Time will tell, but for now, supporters of both the Tigers and the U.S. National Team will be wishing for Altidore to have many more days like today.