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September 21, 2017

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US coach Klinsmann dumps forward Altidore for key qualifiers

MIAMI -- U.S. forward Jozy Altidore, enjoying his top career club season for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, was dropped from the American roster for two critical World Cup 2014 qualifying matches by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

The German manager said Monday that he was dumping the 22-year-old striker because he has struggled with the U.S. squad in this year's semifinal round of CONCACAF (North American) qualifying matches for the 2014 showdown in Brazil.

Altidore has no goals in six matches for the national team this year but has netted eight goals in eight Dutch league matches this season for AZ Alkmaar.

"I communicated to Jozy I was not happy with his latest performances with us in the past 14 months," Klinsmann said. "He can do much much better. The main reason he is not with us is because of his performance against Jamaica."

Altidore struggled in a 2-1 loss at Jamaica and a 1-0 home victory over the "Reggae Boyz" last month.

The Americans are now level with Guatemala in their qualifying group on seven points with Jamaica also on seven points but trailing on goal difference with two matches in the next week for each team to decide two qualifiers for next year's final round of regional qualifying for 2014 berths in Brazil.

"This is a decision as of today for these two games," Klinsmann said. "The door remains open for Jozy. There's no problem at all. We just have to make sure we take care of these two games.

"We hope to see a positive reaction from his end. We want to have a positive approach. We will see what happens."

Altidore had tipped his fate in a morning Twitter posting, saying he would be going to an event with Dutch club teammates on Tuesday, the day U.S. players gather for training camp ahead of matches Friday at Antigua and Barbuda and Oct. 16 at Kansas City against Guatemala.

In 2008, Spain's Villarreal signed Altidore from New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer for a record US$10 million transfer fee, but wound up loaning him to Xerez, Hull City and Bursaspor before dealing him to Alkmaar last year.

Klinsmann named Landon Donovan of the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy to the U.S. roster even though he hurt his left knee last weekend.

"We're happy Landon is part of these two games," Klinsmann said. "He shook off the knee (injury) on Saturday and he's ready to go."

Klinsmann brought San Jose's Alan Gordon and Seattle's Eddie Johnson from MLS to replace Altidore among U.S. attackers "to give them a chance to show how much they have imporved."

"(Altidore) is doing well with Alkmaar and scoring goals but he hasn't done well for us in camps. That's why I have more trust in Eddie and Alan for these games," Klinsmann said.

"We made that decision and we are excited about it and we are moving on."

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