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Hold That Tiger: Altidore Sparks Hull Win

Hull City manager had to wait three weeks to get young American striker Jozy Altidore into the lineup. Once he did, Tigers supporters had to wait only 28 seconds for him to have an impact.

With his first touch in the 61st minute, Altidore posted up in front of Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill and lobbed the ball backwards over his head into an open area in front of goal, allowing Kamel Ghilas to run in and score the game-winning goal against the run of play. Bolton dominated possession and had twice as many shots as Hull, but they were left to curse their inability to finish today.

Altidore wasn’t finished there. In the 70th minute, a Ghilas interception sparked a blistering Hull counterattack. With the young American churning forward, Ghilas sent the ball wide to Geovanni, who lobbed a perfect pass into Altidore, who quickly gathered and lobbed Jussi Jaaskelainen, only to watch the ball bounce inches wide of the right-hand post. His first Premier League goal would have to wait.

Altidore’s impact on the game was clear. His presence immediately improved Hull City’s tempo and counterattack, and Bolton defenders often had to double-team him in the box to keep him in check. However, this also exposed Altidore’s biggest weakness on the day — his inability to use his teammates. Altidore was so eager to open his Premier League account that he missed opportunities to set up scoring opportunities for others. This is something that will need to be fixed on the training ground.

Nonetheless, Altidore played very well in combination with Ghilas and Geovanni today. That trio showed today that it has the potential to open up more than a few Premier League defenses. Whether that’s enough to get Hull City the 40 points it needs to survive relegation remains to be seen, but for now, it’s 3 down and 37 to go.

Altidore also showed he wouldn’t back down from anyone. In the 88th minute, Zat Knight got in Altidore’s face and jawed at him, sparking chants of “USA! USA!” from the KC Stadium crowd. Less than a minute later, Altidore muscled Knight off the ball and launched another late Hull counterattack. This young man is going to be very popular.

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  1. RaiderRich

    August 25, 2009 at 6:38 am

    *ahem* (apologies in advance to Chelsea fans)

    Orange is his color
    Football is his game
    He’ll school your arse
    cause winning is his aim
    He’ll play up Hull and the Yanks to fame
    Cause Jozy, Jozy is his name!

  2. NewtonHeath

    August 24, 2009 at 11:42 am

    impressed with how involved he got and how many chances were generated. slightly mixed feelings though as he should have put at least one of them away. but still great debut and look forward to seeing more


  3. JW

    August 24, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Paul Scholes missed an open shot too Saturday. It happens, whether you’re 38 or 18 or somewhere in between. Why can’t people simply be excited an American striker has an outstanding opportunity to make his mark in the EPL? Sometimes I find some of the negativity on here unbelievable.

    Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have my forwards looking to score and be selfish as much as possible rather than always deferring to others. Keep shooting, Jozy!

  4. Hullfanz

    August 24, 2009 at 10:36 am

    not only is it just altidore and ghilas but theres still HUNT who’s already scored twice might be good

  5. Mark

    August 24, 2009 at 5:58 am

    I have a very good feeling about Altidore , he has the potential to become a really important player for Hull City . Considering he had barely been introduced to the rest of the team before this game any criticism of his performance is a bit ridiculous . He set up the winning goal with his first touch and that will do just fine for now .

  6. wllmhll

    August 23, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    hopefully jozy altidore can find the consistency needed, definitely fits in well in the premier league


    August 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm


  8. Delbs

    August 23, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I think they will make a good pair up front! Altidore is a beast, and one of my favorite u.s. players and has been since he played for new york. I am an American and to have another american with so much potential playing in the premier league makes u.s. soccer gain that much more exposure and hopefully we will have 10 there in key roles in the next five-ten years. Stuart Holden is our next player that should make a move to a european league he is talented and young.

  9. jon-jon

    August 23, 2009 at 12:34 am

    um….not using his team? he’s been there what? 2 maybe 3 days? weakness..i think not..

  10. odessasteps magazine

    August 22, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Not really into the games today, based on all the stuff that happened.

    I really have no desire to watch Liverpool play either. (of course, as a toffee, was already biased on this matter.)

  11. Grant

    August 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Hull City had to wait three GAMES, not three WEEKS to get Jozy into the starting lineup. Slight difference, but a meaningful one.

  12. Elliott

    August 22, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Jozy is in the perfect league for his style of play: physical and high tempo. I wonder if he will earn closer looks from some of the bigger EPL teams before the season is over. 10 goals would be a good haul for him, although 5 goals/5 assists would be a nice debut season as well.

  13. uh?

    August 22, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    altidore is a fucking striker, he doesn’t set up teammates they set him up.

    • Gaz

      August 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm

      That’s silly. Strikers like him are used as hold-up players. Think Heskey.

  14. Evan

    August 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I was really impressed today with what Jozy did. I hope he can be consistent with these type of performances. It would be great if the USA had a very good striker.

  15. Les

    August 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Most of Bolton’s ‘twice as many shots’ came from cheaply awarded free kicks that were unwarranted.

    The first 30 minutes were awful but once City won the midfield arm-wrestle they were much better.

    ‘Big Unit’ Altidore’s entrance changed the game however, it energised the crowd and he partnered Ghilas superbly, we have our front pair for the season now I think.

    Altidore! Altidore! Altidore!

  16. Joel

    August 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    I was really impressed with him today. I just finished watching the game (even though ESPN2 already revealed the score!), and he definitely should have had at least 1 goal. The key for Jozy now is consistency. If he can stay a threat and show some defensive work, he’ll be OK. As for Hull, their going to have a tough season I fear.

    • Joel

      August 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm

      Darn it! Of course, I meant “they’re”. My students will tear into me if they find out.

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