There were some skeptics when it was announced that the New England Revolution had signed Jozy Altidore to a multi-year deal, but the veteran striker has come to the club and has done all the right things.
Interacting with teammates, Altidore seems revitalized and happy to be in New England. You’ll likely find him smiling and joking with teammates during training and the same can be said for when he speaks to the media.
Altidore came into Saturday’s match in the 70th minute replacing Tommy McNamara. While he got a yellow card less than a minute after entering the game, he also got involved with the attack. The striker ended the game with eight touches and completed five of his seven passes.
In the season opener against Portland, Altidore replaced fellow striker Gustavo Bou. Saturday was the first time Revs fans saw all three strikers on the field with Bou, Buksa, and Altidore finishing out the game
“Yeah man, [Adam] Buksa, I’m telling you, this guy’s a baller,” said Altidore. “I’ll tell you right now. You guys see it on the field but the way he works, he comes in every single day ready to work, eager to learn. He doesn’t miss a beat in terms of effort, just being alert, just being ready. He’s a sponge, he soaks up everything. He’s there after training trying to get better on his finishes. It’s a pleasure to play with players like this. This is the environment you want to be around as a pro. And Gustavo is the same way. He can play all across that front line there, he’s shifty, he’s smart. So, yeah, it’s just a pleasure for me to come in and play with these guys and I’m just watching right now to see how they play, learn their tendencies, and try to see where I can plug in and try to help them get better and help the team get better.”
Buksa finished the game with 29 touches and two shots while Bou finished with 52 touches and four shots. The praise didn't stop with Altidore also talking about how great Carles Gil is to play with.
While Altidore used to be the main man for other clubs, that won’t be his role in New England. The striker seems to understand this as he mentioned how tough it will be for him to get into the starting XI.
“They’re all great players,” he said. “It won’t be easy for me. For me, it’ll be tough to get in there and play. I have to find my spot and work like crazy. When the opportunity comes, I have to play the way I know how to play.”
It’s only two games, but it seems clear why Bruce Arena brought Altidore in. He is motivated and wanting to win.
It’s too early to say whether the acquisition is a success or not but the signs are there. Altidore looks reinvigorated and ready to help out New England in any way he can.