The goal had shades of Leo Messi’s 2015 Puskas winner, when he took the ball himself and shook a few defenders in what was named the best goal of the year. Altidore got past two defenders who really should’ve done better to get in his way, plus goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Let’s see that footwork one more time, zoomed in:
D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum, who happens to be Altidore’s teammate on the U.S. national team, can’t keep up. Of course, scoring great goals is what we’ve come to expect from Altidore lately. He may be in the best form of his career, or at least looking his best in a very long time.
There’s no doubt that Altidore’s hard work and good footwork made that goal happen as he continues to shred his false reputation as a one-dimensional target man. The goal was probably more the type expected from a Leo Messi-type player and not Altidore, but the Toronto FC striker is gradually changing that perception as he evolves his game.
It’s good news for a U.S. men’s national team that recently lost striker Clint Dempsey to an irregular heartbeat because there were real concerns about who would lead the Americans forward when Altidore was injured this summer. Not only has Altidore been healthy since he came back, he’s been playing some excellent soccer.
With the final phase of 2018 World Cup qualifying just around the corner and a tough opening match against Mexico in November, American fans will be hoping Altidore can keep up his scoring spree. Given Altidore’s current form and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez’s recent form, that match-up should be a fun one.
Toronto FC ultimately lost to D.C. United, 1-2, but since TFC are already through to the playoffs, we can just savor Altidore’s great goal.