Altidore Caps Dream Season with 31st Goal and Dutch Cup Championship
It’s been a dream season in Holland for Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore. A dream season that reached meteoric heights Thursday as Altidore helped AZ Alkmaar to a 2-1 victory against PSV Eindhoven in the KNVB Dutch Cup final. It’s the fourth KNVB title for Alkmaar but their first since 1982, and it’s also the first major trophy for Altidore in his young career.
"Of course, any time you can be a champion, [the season is a success]," Altidore told MLSsoccer.com after celebrating the club’s first trophy since winning the league title in 2009.
"I'm just so happy to win something. I told the guys, it's not every day you get in this position. You never know – I may never get this chance again in my career. It's been a tough season, with a lot of ups and downs, but it's great to win a championship."
Altidore played a crucial role for the Cheese Farmers in their run to the title. After Adam Maher put AZ on top with a brilliant solo effort in the 12th minute, it took just two minutes for Altidore to find the back of the net and double the lead. His 14th minute strike marked the eighth time Altidore has tallied in Dutch Cup competitions, making him the leading goal scorer of the tournament.
Few players have been a bigger nightmare for opposing goalkeepers this season than Altidore. His 23 league goals on top of the eight he added in the Dutch Cup are a record for an American playing in the European top flight. Clint Dempsey previously held the record with 23 goals for Fulham during the 2011-12 campaign.
Despite the frequency in which Altidore’s found the back of the net, Alkmaar’s struggled in league play and will finish mid-table in the Eredivisie. However, the upset win for AZ’s gutsy showing in the Cup Final salvages their 2012-13 campaign with silverware in a trophy case and a ticket punched to next year’s Europa League.
"I've been involved in two finals with the National Team and played in one, so I know that in these matches it's about who will suffer more," he said. "We had a great start, but we suffered for 80 minutes. When I say suffer, I mean we had to withstand the pressure and fight and show that we want it more.
"We wanted to attack and play football, but it wasn't happening," he said. "PSV had most of the ball, but whenever we saw the moment to go, we went. When you have chance in a final, you have to bury them and we did. Adam's goal was fantastic."
Alkmaar’s season isn’t quite over and Altidore will have one more chance to add to his record breaking numbers when they play Willem II Tilburg on Sunday in the Eredivisie finale. However, even with work still to be done for Altidore and AZ Alkmaar supporters it is certainly the time to celebrate.
"It's going to be a fantastic celebration,” Altidore said. “The city is ready."