It looks like the US national team has an unexpected conundrum on it's hands. The weeks heading into the 2010 World Cup were all about wondering who would play with Jozy Altidore at forward. Now, the question might be will Jozy Altidore even start? If the U.S. didn't need a speedster forward up top like Robbie Findley, then we might see both Jozy Altidore and Edson Buddle, but they appear to be too similar of players to be paired together. Most know the story:
Jozy Altidore, the 20 year old, leading goal scorer in qualifying and a player that the U.S. will be counting on for probably 2 more world cups is a player that quite frankly, U.S. Soccer needs to be good and probably needs him to be great. They need a young star that kids can look up to and try to emulate. Jozy still holds the record for recieving the highest tranfer fee when Villareal of La Liga paid roughly $10 million to acquire him from the New York Red Bulls. After a disappointing club season with Hull City of the EPL, Jozy needs to make a strong case in this WC. He shows flashes of brilliance and also disappears a little at times. I say it one more time for emphasis: U.S. Soccer NEEDS Jozy Altidore to be good.
Then there is Edson Buddle. Who? Is probably the question I would've asked in March because until that time, I did not follow MLS. Edson is a career Major League Soccer player who has been riddled by injuries most of his career. That was the thing that probably always kept him off the National Team radar. He always showed promise wherever he was, whether with Columbus at age 21 where he scored 9 goals and had 5 assists or 6 years later when he tallied 15 goals for L.A. Plain and simple, when he's been healthy, he scores goals.
On to now. Edson Buddle just scored 2 goals in a friendly vs. fellow WC participant Australia while Altidore watched from the bench, nursing an injured ankle. Put that with the 9 goals and 2 assists for Buddle in the very short MLS season and you've got a very in form, intriguing player.
Who would you start?
I'm not sure I have an answer. First and foremost I would say go with Jozy, he is our future and a player that we are all waiting to break out and be a star. Then I think about how well Buddle is playing and the fact that he and Landon Donovan, arguably the U.S.'s most important player, have been playing together for 3 months now and seem to have a very good understanding of where each will be on the field.
So what do you do? Start Jozy and use Buddle as a sub if things aren't going well? The other way around? I'm interested to see what you think Bob Bradley will do and/or what you would do?