No goals in US World Cup tuneup win, but Altidore still impressesBy Michael Lewis
June 01. 2014 8:51PM
HARRISON, N.J. -- When asked which American players he was impressed with in the United States' 2-1 victory Sunday, Turkey coach Fatih Terim did not hesitate to say who was at the top of his list: striker Jozy Altidore
"He's a very powerful striker, a type of striker defenders don't like that much," he said.
Except these days, the soccer gods apparently don't like Altidore that much. He is mired in a deep scoring slump for club and country.
Altidore did not figure in the scoring before a sellout crowd of 26,672 at Red Bull Arena. Right back Fabian Johnson, a converted midfielder, tallied his first international, and captain Clint Dempsey, who sat out the 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday with groin issues, struck for the second.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard, who played the first half, became the all-time U.S. leader with 54 wins, surpassing Kasey Keller's record.
If the lack of goals is bothering him, then the 24-year-old Altidore hasn't shown it.
"Everybody is so worried about my confidence," said Altidore, who has 21 international goals. "It's unbelievable. My confidence is fine. It's not going to change, whether I score a hat trick or I don't score at all."
The problem for the team is that he is not scoring at all. That has to be a concern with the Americans' first World Cup game against Ghana two weeks from Monday. Altidore hasn't scored in 1,861 minutes, dating to last year.
He came close a couple of times Sunday, but was denied by goalkeeper Onur Recept Kivrak, especially from close range in the 81st minute.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said that Altidore had an "energetic performance."
"I wouldn't mind if the goal comes against Ghana," he said. "You've got to stay hungry and grind it. Sooner or later, it's time and boom, the ball is in the net."
As it was for an overlapping Johnson in the 26th minute. He passed to midfielder Michael Bradley, who chipped the ball back to Johnson into the penalty area before the defender scored from 6 yards.
"He kind of told me with the way he was running that he was going to keep running through," Bradley said.
Dempsey tallied his 37th international goal from about a yard out in the 52nd minute, taking advantage of a bad defensive clear by Hakan Kadir Balta off a cross by left back Timmy Chandler.
Turkey scored on Selcuk Inan's penalty kick after Geoff Cameron was called for a hand ball in the 90th minute.