Jozy Altidore: Flopper Extraordinaire

Jozy Altidore's day for the United States against Ghana came to an end with regulation time; he was replaced by Herculez Gomez to start overtime. For the Ghanaians, that's probably a positive development.

But that's not because Altidore was playing especially well; indeed, he seemed to be a step slow or just off for most of the match. But during the US's dominant second half, Altidore truly grew as a soccer player. And by that we mean he flopped multiple times.

The first time happened on a sterling chance for the United States, with Altidore pushing the ball into the penalty area, while drawing plenty of contact from his defender. The two tumbled to the ground, with Altidore pushing a falling shot just wide. No penalty was called, though both Ian Darke and John Harkes mused that penalty kicks had been awarded for less. Upon replay, though, Altidore exaggerated the level of contact he received before falling in an unnatural direction.

Then, during stoppage time in regulation, Altidore was bringing the ball up along the sideline before apparently being tripped, leading to a yellow card that would disqualify André Ayew from quarterfinal play. Upon replay, again, Altidore hadn't even been touched. He just faceplanted and was rewarded with a heinous yellow card against Ghana.

So take from that what you will. It's a curious tactical decision, not unlike a LeBron James or Dwyane Wade playing for the call rather than the basket. It got the US a yellow card against a key Ghanian midfielder, but it almost certainly made Altidore's goal try more difficult than it needed to be in regulation. With the score currently at 2-1 Ghana, one must wonder whether Altidore's priorities were truly in order.

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