Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jozy Report: Southampton 1-1 Sunderland

Jozy Altidore saw the best chance of his Sunderland career to date splashed away by Arter Boruc in the 58th minute. It came back to bite Sunderland as José Fonte gave Southampton a deserved equalizer in the 88th minute, erasing Emanuele Giaccherini's 3rd-minute opener.

The Black Cats were dominated on the road and Altidore was starved of service as his team ended with about 30 percent of possession and several hundred less passes completed than the hosts.

Boruc's save was a fine one as Altidore looked to slide the ball between the Polish goalkeeper's legs with his left foot from outside the six-yard box. He might have been able to go around Boruc, but it was a split-second decision after a well-timed run that left him with about five yards to play with.

Altidore's most wasted opportunity came in the 65th minute when he hesitated, then went down, one-on-one with José Fonte with 50 yards of open field between Fonte and the Southampton goal. No call was given, and Altidore spent the rest of his 90 minutes tracking back or trying to win the odd loose ball or throw-in that found its way into the Sunderland attacking half.

Playing largely alone up top, Altidore often pulled to the left, seemingly to allow Adam Johnson to pinch in and surge forward.

But with Sunderland having so little of the ball, the move displaced Sunderland's best outlet more than opening up the attack. Altidore won headers. Too often, though, they were for no one.

Best look: The aforementioned one-on-one with Boruc. It was a solid save from a good shot after a good run. No hesitation from Altidore, just didn't win this duel.

Most impressive: In the 26th minute Altidore settled a skipping ball and flicked it out of the air to Stephane Sessgnon across the box. Sessegnon scampered around his obstructing man to keep the ball in play, but Underland''s final ball was long.

-Dong-Won Ji and Connor Wickham are still struggling to form an understanding with each other and Altidore -- and vice versa.

Wickham was one-on-one in the right corner in the 91st minute, but waited too long to hit a cross to Altidore. By the time he did, Altidore had nearly run out of field. Regardless the cross didn't clear the first defender.
-Ji should've slipped Wickham in down the right channel in the 82nd minute. Instead he took his man on 30 yards out before laying off for a midfielder to blast over the goal. Altidore wasn't involved in the play, but it illustrated Sunderland's lack of quick passing play.

-Sessgnon's style of play can help Altidore -- taking men on, stretching the defense wide and vertically. His execution just isn't there.

-Sunderland is a much less ambitious team attacking-wise than the U.S. national team. Maybe that goes without saying, but it's so painfully obvious that it has to be said.

Final stats (team total)
Shots: 1 (8); Shots on goal: 1 (3); Fouls drawn 3 (11);

Hopefully Steven Fletcher coming back, sooner or later, makes a difference for Altidore. He's in a swarm of two or three defenders every time he touches the ball. As is, he'll get a half chance per game, tops, and if it goes begging, that's it. Doing all the other little things well though.

Player rating: 6.5

- Jacob Klinger


andrés said...

These write-ups are great Jacob, thanks.

Jacob Klinger said...

My pleasure man.

AWF08 said...

Disagree with your rating. I thought Jozy should have done better to hold up play and win balls--even if the service was poor, you've gotta win some of those balls and help relieve the pressure on your midfield and defense. But, I do love these write ups, too.

Tony M said...

I have not seen either of his first two game, but it sounds like the typical issue with coaches using Jozy as a hold up forward rather than getting him balls in space. Is that what's going on? I thought the would use him in a way that plays more to his strengths.

heythisisrobbie said...

I don't think it is the coach's preference that he play that way, Tony. The only way Sunderland can advance the ball past midfield is via clearance or goal kick.

Even with that excuse, Jozy didn't exactly rise to the occasion the few chances he got to touch the ball. He looked much better last week.

I would have given him a 5, which still would have been third-best behind their goalie and Gia.

UnitedDemon said...

The main issue with Sunderland this game was any kind of coherent passing structure. The defenders weren't passing well, the central midfielders had as much influence on the teams rhytm as Meatloaf has composure. Every time a Sunderland player wanted to pass forward, desperation.

At this point, Jozy could use as stodgy system. At least there would be one. No striker could thrive in this mess.

Unknown said...

I do think he did a fair amount to relieve pressure even though his on-ball game was not as good as it was last week.

Again doubled wherever he went, dragging defenders as far as the touchline did open up space for his teammates. They just didn't do much with it, but that's not Jozy's fault.

@Tony M, @robbie
AZ was close to perfect for him. This isn't. The national team is somewhere in between. Still, given, he can definitely do better on the ball.

Well said, though a system doesn't necessarily make midfielders less desperate. But you're right, that was bad.

Just to give you all a point of reference, I use '6' as my baseline pretty much for doing one's job.

In this case, Altidore's was to be a target for a bunkered-in team. He did that and a little more, so he got the 6.5.

Unknown said...

Altidore's most memorable play for me, was when he got the ball right in front of the goal and passed it to I think Sessegnon. But either he led him to far, or it was a miscommunication, but I thought that would have been a sure goal. Haven't heard anyone mention that one, was Sessegnon slow to see the opportunity develop?

Unknown said...

Do you mean the 26th-minute flick or the 27th-minute Adam Johnson cross he couldn't connect on?

I've got a note in the 37th minute on a somewhat similar play, but I'm not sure.

I hope this helps though.

Generally speaking, I do think he sees the game better than most of his teammates right now at Sunderland.