Report: Altidore being benched at AZ

Altidore (Reuters Pictures)

After a hot start in his first season in the Netherlands, it appears that Jozy Altidore is going to have to fight for his place in AZ Alkmaar's starting lineup.

According to reports out of the Netherlands, AZ manager Gertjan Verbeek has elected to bench Altidore ahead of Thursday's UEFA Europa League match against Austria Wien.

The timing of the benching seems peculiar considering that Altidore had done plenty of damage in the Europa League. He scored four goals in AZ's last three Europa games, including a brace in a qualifier against Aalesund and single goals in group matches against Malmo and Metalist Kharkiv.

Verbeek, however, reportedly favors Charlison Benschop, who came on for Altidore during the weekend's draw with Ajax and made an impact despite not scoring. It remains to be seen whether this benching is temporary or more of a long-term indication of where Verbeek thinks Altidore stands in his pecking order.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.

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91 Responses to Report: Altidore being benched at AZ

  1. DeLarge says:

    Um, yeah. That doesn’t make much sense to me given Jozy’s track record thus far. Maybe off the pitch things?

  2. Frenchie says:

    This doesn’t make much sense. Even though Jozy didn’t score in the Ajax tilt, he made a dummy run that set up AZ’s second goal and drew a foul right outside the box. Unless he needs some rest, Altidore needs to be in the lineup getting game time!

  3. Drew says:

    Well this sucks, but hey lets see him fight even harder and win his spot back. Good luck!

  4. Ian says:

    Dude is out of his mind to take a player out of the lineup who’s as hot as Jozy.

  5. Mike says:

    We’re missing something here… seems unusual based on Jozy’s form thus far. Perhaps an incident at training or late for a meeting? Or maybe just a rest and no big deal. Either way, there’s more detail that will shed clearer light on this one…

  6. patrick says:

    I’m sure this has to do with jozy getting a little TOO comfortable there. While he’s been scoring goals, he still needs to remember that every day is a fight for his position, perhaps Verbeek is reminding him of that.

  7. Could be rest and also could be an indication of how hes been practicing. Could be more into this that we dont know.

  8. nick says:

    retaliation for Klinnsmann bringing him in for both our last games.

  9. Jolivernyc says:

    Talk about blowing things out of proportion. Look at how many players Harry Redknapp “benched” for Tottenham’s last Europa League game. He’s played a lot of football on two continents recently. Give him a game off or two to recharge the batteries. It’s a long season. AZ will compete for multiple trophies. Everyone relax

  10. mikey says:

    Maybe he just needs rest. He’s played a lot lately

  11. Hush says:

    Oh how things turn so quickly. I did watch the match versus Ajax and I must day Jozy was a bit slow. He did a great job in pulling the defense away from the wingers, but still looked two steps slow. Lost too many possessions. Maybe the friendlies took some gas away.

  12. Bryson says:

    I translated the comments from the article and they seem to think that it might be an “attitude” or off the field problem. Who knows.

  13. Mug says:

    This is typical. Every time I start to get excited about Jozy he takes a step backward. He Seems to be playing well though. I’m very disappointed. Hopefully he’ll dig in and fight to get his spot back.

  14. Trevor Smith says:

    He is just being rested. Very common for teams who are trying establish a new place in the league, shooting for the league title to want to make sure they get their best out of the starters they have, who may need a rest and sacrificing very little to do it is a no-brainer. He did just come back from international duty, a midweek game last week, were others did not.

  15. brad says:

    Seems like a bit of an over-reaction… maybe they are just mixing it up, to keep everyone sharp…

  16. Joel says:

    This just looks like basic squad rotation. Even the best strikers in the world don’t start every single game for their team.

  17. LIUNited says:

    I don’t know. I think if i read the article which was linked to correctly then Jozy spit on the Swedish chef of the muppets and the coach had to bench him for PR purposes.

    “ALKMAAR – Jozy Altidore zit donderdag op de bank bij AZ dat het thuis opneemt tegen Austria Wien in de Europa League. Coach Gertjan Verbeek is ontevreden over de Amerikaanse spits. Charlison Benschop krijgt de voorkeur. ”

  18. jaileer says:

    perhaps this will put Klinnsman’s “you must be starting for your club team” mandate to test.

  19. Louis Z says:

    didn’t we read this story before? Looks like Atidore needs to impress against better teams.

  20. AC says:

    Hope this lights a fire in Altidore to always be hungry and fight for his spot….Glass half full!

  21. Jack says:

    That’s strange…Benschop missed an absolute sitter last game, which Jozy would have nailed home. So, reading up on the dutch press, apparently Verbeek has a problem with how Jozy trains. He said something to the effect that the only that Jozy does to get ready for the game is sleep. The former Hull manager said something similar, saying that Jozy was lazy in training and only going at half speed.

    Also, I came across another article in Voetball International that complained that Jozy doesn’t know how to fit into the system and that he shouldn’t start. So, maybe that’s why. In retrospect, Verbeek didn’t want Jozy to start for a month or two at the beginning of the season exactly for that reason, though pound for pound Jozy is probably better than Benschop, but a trainer is going to prefer the guy who knows what he is doing I guess

  22. Gnarls says:

    Seems most probable. +1

  23. A.S. says:

    I watched the Ajax game, and thought Altidore was crap. Really did not play well at all, IMHO.

    Also, I don’t think it’s that accurate to say he is “hot”. Two goals across all competitions in the last month and a half isn’t “hot”.

    Look, Jozy has been substituted in just about every game he’s played for AZ. So not starting shouldn’t be a complete shock.

  24. A.S. says:

    I thought it was playing, not starting, that mattered.

  25. Khan says:

    I’ve watched AZ’s last couple games to see Jozy play and he has been poor. It isn’t surprising to see him lose his starting position, especially considering his recent trend of second half substitutions.

    Couple that with only a couple goals across all competitions over the past month and a half and you have the current situation.

  26. Khan says:

    Well put, Sir.

  27. kimo says:

    This is Europe. You gotta fight for your spot. Think how many times Deuce got benched for no apparent reason only to battle back and regain his place in the starting 11.

  28. Luke says:

    Agree. People overreacting by implying he’s “too comfortable” or “must be some off the field stuff”. Really, get a grip. With weekley league games, a league title to fight for, Europa and league cups being on the bench instead of starting is not that big a deal. It is not uncommon for teams in multiple competions to bench players for some of the games. Even Wayne Rooney doesn’t play every game for Man Unite.

  29. RevsFan says:

    Only reason he’s getting lambasted and people are panicking is because of his history (really other than Adu who takes more criticism?).

    I’m sure there was probably some dropoff in his play, but he’s put a lot of minutes and mileage on in the past couple weeks. If a game or two off the bench gives him some rest, and some extra motivation that’s great.

    Now if he finds himself not on the field regularly that’s when people should start to worry.

  30. Timber Nick says:

    I’m really excited that Jozy seems to be finding his form this season, but I think people are getting a little carried away. I know he’s done well in the Europa, but he’s got 3 goals after 9 rounds for the first place team in a high-scoring league. It’s good, but not amazing. He has a teammate with twice as many goals…I’m not saying he should be benched, and maybe he’s just being rested, but I do think we’re getting a little carried away when talking about how hot he is this season.

  31. Jk3 says:

    maybe he got busted smoking some pot…not that he does smoke, but just sayin’

  32. john.q says:


  33. john.q says:

    oh yeah and FIRE JURGEN

  34. Cyrus says:

    More off the pitch things is right. Verbeek’s said that the only way Jozy prepares for games is sleep and he showed up to the pre-game video analysis session for the Austria Vienna game late.

  35. MDC says:

    Over the weekend Rooney, Nani and Chicharito all were on the bench in an important match against Liverpool. It happens in Europe. Let the manager manage and let the players work for their spots. This isn’t MLS people…Even LD didn’t start every game @ Everton and Clint doesn’t start every game @ Fulham.

  36. fischy says:

    I see…And you know this how…?

  37. Jason Akasaki says:

    He showed up late for a video session of Rapid Vienna. Unprofessional

  38. markVA says:

    he definitely has a reputation for lazy training habits. it’s why people have passed him on the pecking order before. if the u.s. had any other options that were as gifted as he were they’d be playing, but we don’t. so we have to afford to play players without the best training habits.

  39. MarkVA says:

    not aimed at MDC, but it wouldn’t let me post any other way.

  40. bottlcaps says:

    The take on Altidore, at least oversees, is that he can become lackadaisical, on and off the field. I have seen him become invisible many times for USMNT. He is frequently out of position and he has NOT have the knack for playing a lone striker, this despite having the physical attributes for a great one.

    I imagine it must be quite frustrating for club coaches. While it is easy to get motivated for USMNT matches, playing focused club matches and staying focused in training dies not seem to be Altidore’s forte right now.

    Benching usually wakes players up, especially when they think that their playing and scoring, is enough.

    AZ is a good Dutch team with good/great players, all falling over themselves to get a chance to play or get noticed. Unfortunately for Altidore his notice seems to be negative after great starts.

    But he is young a will (hopefully) learn.

  41. jbrader says:

    I agree, let Jozy fight a little. But it’s different…Deuce was benched every time because Fulham got a new coach every year, not “for not apparent reason”.

  42. Rory says:

    Cap Jozy!

    oh wait… just got carried away with the usual knee-jerk fan reactions.

  43. SD says:

    if you translate the linked article, sounds like the coach has a problem with jozy. specifically the coach says there are ‘other things’ that he won’t elaborate on. jozy needs to wake up and be more mature but since he is only 21, sadly there will be more incidents. hopefully he’ll figure it out….

  44. Conrad says:

    Jozy Altidore = Rorschach test.

    Did anybody actually read the “article”? It was a 94-word blurb on a Dutch Web site. A completely cursory glance reveals that NuSport seems to trade in rumors (stories about Wayne Rooney after his red card, Van Nistelrooy transfer speculation). So NuSport could be the Netherlands’ CNN or it’s New York Post.

    The translation I read made a little sense, but the coach — to me — came off as defensive, explaining why he was sitting — not “benching” — a reliable scorer, while pointing out that Charlison Benschop (who happens to be Dutch; conspiracists take note!) had missed two easy chances for goals. It should also be noted that Vienna, AZ’s next opponent, is ranked 101 by UEFA, and AZ is 59 or something.

    If you see in that information that Jozy is a potsmoker with no work ethic who needs a lot of sleep, well, who am I to argue with you? Me, I see a buttterfly, a happy, happy butterfly.

  45. Sticky says:


  46. marco says:

    Jozy has been playing well, some poor touches, but some nice runs also. In the two games I watched Jozy has made space for others more often than striking himself. The two best opportunities for either striker were Benschop’s glaring misses. The fact that Jozy’s rarely plays the entire 90 may be the determining factor.

  47. TomG says:

    Not true. Even the announcers said he worked like crazy that game.

  48. TomG says:

    +1 – Benschop actually missed TWO sitters. One where he beat the keeper but failed to put enough on the finish to beat a backtracking defender. Another where the ball fortituously fell to him off a set piece.

    AZ also lost their lead when Jozy went out, so it can’t be something ON the field.

  49. TomG says:

    Disagree – from the game announcer on Saturday: “From the announcer, “Jozy Altidore has worked and worked to make things difficult for the central defenders of Ajax.”

  50. bryan says:

    clearly there is more to the story. any of the examples listed above could be the reason. as someone said, this is europe, you have to fight every day for your spot. dempsey is a perfect example of someone who has been in good form only to be benched and then put back into the lineup.

  51. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Yeah, and maybe he killed a guy! Not that he’s a murderer, but just sayin’.

  52. Creige VA says:

    It’s great Deuce fought for his spot but to be more accurate he was mistreated. It will be very difficult for any American player to succeed if they have to be the leading goal scorer for three seasons before they can secure their spot in the starting lineup. Looks like Gomez is going through the same crap in Mexico.

  53. Drew_ROC says:

    Did anyone see Benschop on Saturday? Guy missed two groaners that woulda been money balls for AZ. Jozy looked listless, but at least he’s proven he makes his chances!

  54. Turd Bradley says:

    Maybe its just bc Jozy isnt very good at soccer and depends 100 percent on his athletic ability instead of his technic and speed of thought…….just a thought. if he starts in brasil we are in seriously trouble. he is almost worthless at the pro level

  55. Conrad says:


  56. fifawitz1313 says:

    I think the key wording here is that he has been “benched”, not that he is being “rested”. It’s pretty easy for a manager to say he is resting a player. Everyone claiming otherwise is a “fan boy”. Typical Jozy with his off field antics. Sad he is so immature.

  57. Mike Bassett says:

    I totally agree. I would love to see Agudelo and Dempsey start instead of “Lazy” Altidore.

    Then you can sub in Herculez later in the game!

  58. Hot off the press gentleman…

    AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek announced today that Jozy Altidore will not start tomorrow’s Europa League against Austria Vienna

    The Dutchman criticized Altidore’s recent efforts on and off the field in comments to the local press. Verbeek, who is known as a strict disciplinarian, had previously expressed his displeasure with the forward’s lack of fitness.

    Despite issues with match fitness, Altidore has produced seven goals across all competitions this season for AZ.

    This incident is not the first time Altidore has run into trouble with a manager. He was left out of the squad by Phil Brown after arriving late for a match with Hull City in October 2009.

  59. TomG says:

    Also, when Jozy went off, it was just after drawing an ejection from the Ajax player, leaving his team up 11 men to 10, so with Jozy at even strength: 2 goals to 1; without Jozy but with a man advantage: 0 goals to 1 and Benschop missing two golden opportunities to score.

    This makes it very hard for me to believe that this is a move based on play. It seems clear that it is either a practice issue, a conditioning/ work habits issue, or a squabble between management.

    We’ve all seen Jozy struggle with conditioning in the past, so my bet is on work habits. Sometimes it is particularly hard for a manager to work out these issues with a player of a different culture/language. Hopefully, Earnie Stewart can communicate exactly what the manager needs from Jozy and he is able to work things out because he and the team are doing extremely well so far this season.

  60. TomG says:


  61. TomG says:

    nice trolling with you.

  62. JG13 says:

    Interesting, because on Saturday you quoted the announcer as saying,”jozy Altidore has worked and worked to make things difficult for the central defenders of Ajax but has hardly had a touch here in the first half.”. Funny how you forgot about the second half of the quote…

  63. mikebsiu says:

    The next Freddy adu?

  64. abc says:

    Ugh, sleep?? I remember Gale Agbossomonde got in trouble at his previous club in Sweden for showing up late.
    Come on guys, get it together, the reputation of American soccer players is that they’re hard working, don’t do anything that would make your coach think you’re lazy!

  65. abc says:

    Smh… come on Jozy get it together and take full advantage of the opportunity you have to start over at AZ!

  66. getrealtime19 says:

    Agudelo needs to beat itty Luke Rodgers and start for RBNY 1st. You know what Jozy was doing at 16-17.

  67. Khan says:

    Freddy is far more skilled.

  68. anan says:

    i don’t think this is a big deal i think the alkmaar manager is just resting altidore since he played in both friendlies and the Ajax match.

  69. This Guy says:

    The article states that the coach is “unhappy” with Jozy due to other things outside of the pitch. That is the reason for the speculation because the coach wouldn’t specify what “other things” meant. Jozy is lazy, period.

  70. Joey says:

    It seems odd to me that everywhere he goes ends up the same. Starts good then ends up not playing and finally moving to a new team. Can all these coaches/teams be wrong or are we simply refusing to see what so many others have seen. He’s just not all that good.

  71. Joamiq says:

    This has nothing to do with how good he is. He’s scoring goals, so performance on the field obviously isn’t the problem.

  72. Joamiq says:

    If his manager is upset at his attitude and his lackadaisical approach, then I hope this is a wake up call for Jozy. It’s not the first time we’ve heard these things, but in the past he’s always dismissed it, saying that’s just how he is, that he’s laid back, that he might appear lazy but he’s actually not. It’s time for him to stop being in denial and get himself in gear. He’s never going to reach his full potential if he doesn’t put in the effort.

  73. Khan says:

    Manager said he is benching him for poor match fitness, being late to video sessions and for saying bad things to the press.

  74. Matt says:

    Jozy has been over-rated since when he played for NYRB.

  75. jimbo says:

    maybe he ran over the coach with his car while eating some doritos collisions featuring zesty taco and chipotle ranch, not that he’s a bad driver, just sayin’

  76. Dog says:

    So is yo mama when naked, Matt

  77. jayrig5 says:

    Honestly, that was my first thought as well, no matter how irrational it might be. And I’m sure it’s irrational and wrong. But still.

  78. jpc says:

    it doesn’t mean anything. The season is very long, and there’s always ebbs and flows for players. Players play and don’t play for hundreds of reasons. Competition is why guys go to Europe, if it was all about minutes Jozy would have never left MLS

  79. doug says:

    You are right Joey. I was going to say the same thing. He started off hot at Hull City and then went very, very cold. He’s scored most of his goals this year against relatively weak competition in Europa League. None against the good competition in the Netherlands.
    He’s still young, but it seems like until he can learn to beat someone with the dribble, he’s not going to be a very good forward.

  80. dls says:

    Jozy should be starting for Man U! AZ is lucky to have him! Go jozy!

  81. moosecat says:

    not surprised. like most american failed soccer players he’s got no edge and lacks desire.

  82. Ja Ja James says:

    The article mentioned there are “other things” but the manager would not elaborate. Definitely in the dog house, but that is life. He’ll get it together.

  83. BrianVT says:

    That’s my take on it, too.

  84. Brett says:

    If he showed up to a team meeting late, he deserves to be benched. Is that report confirmed?

  85. Dennis says:

    Whole lot of silly speculation. Altidore is a 21 year-old who has played a lot of soccer at a high level lately. His coach is choosing to not start him for one game and everyone is acting like it is the end of the world. Most likely the coach noticed some tiredness and decided to give him a rest. Most coaches learn early on that nothing makes a player perform below potential faster than being over-worked. Fans who get to see only games do not have as much opportunity to see how the work is affecting a player. If Altidore fails to start for a couple weeks, then sure there may be something else going on, but one game, really!

  86. Sal_21 says:

    Jozy needs to play with passion and fervor like he did right after Davies got into his accident. I think that put life and his career into perspective, but I think he’s lost that perspective. I will say he looks more skillful than ever before and the playing time with AZ is the catalyst for that, if he loses that playing time he will lose that bit of skill that’s starting to show through

  87. Sal_21 says:

    hahaha…that’s the best joke I’ve heard in a while

  88. Blasie213 says:

    ESPN3 REPLAY – Ajax vs. AZ Alkmaar

    After I saw this article I watched the game. Jozy made a lot of lazy runs into the box, was mostly behind the pace, out of position, and missed some key passes. Based on this game performance I can agree with Verbeek.

    I never liked Jozy Altidore after the World Cup Performance. It’s time to look at other players : Agudelo, Boyd, Sapong, Bunbury, Kiesewetter

  89. simon says:

    the announcers on the directv feed today said he has fallen out of favor because of his attitude..they said he and the coach had a row about something…

  90. Jesse says:

    Not surprising at all. Altidore has a bag. Of nothing. Move on to Agudelo or someone else. Villareal, Xerex, Hull City, Buraspor, AZ. Is this the path of a young superstar on the rise? No. Guy is already a journeyman at age 21. Time to come back to MLS.