Jozy Altidore's breakout season 

May, 9, 2012
05/09/12
10:16
AM ET

After managing just eight goals in 10 games under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, American fans can be forgiven for wondering who, besides Clint Dempsey, can be counted on to score when the national team assembles for five games between May 26 and June 12, the last two of them World Cup qualifiers.

How about Jozy Altidore?

It's hard to believe how little stateside excitement Altidore's breakout performance this season in the Netherlands has generated, and how the U.S. could benefit from it this spring. But you can bet there were a few nervous moments in the Klinsmann household after Dutch media reported that the 22-year-old was knocked out cold in a game last week. (The report was inaccurate. U.S. Soccer says Altidore is fine.)

Sure, Dempsey's spectacular play has stolen some of Altidore's thunder, but you'd think a young American striker with 19 goals across all competitions in a country known for nurturing some of the best talent in soccer history would get more attention.

In fairness, Altidore's scoring haul for AZ Alkmaar hasn't yet translated into goals for the national team: He has one goal in seven appearances under Klinsmann.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.
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