Move over, Clint Dempsey—there's a new American goal-scoring king in European soccer, and his name is Jozy Altidore.
From the Associated Press (via Fox News):
Jozy Altidore broke Clint Dempsey's record for most goals by an American in a European club season, scoring his 24th Sunday in AZ Alkmaar's 2-1 loss at RKC Waalwijk in the Dutch Eredivisie.
The 23-year-old tied the score in the 69th minute, his 17th league goal to go along with seven in the Dutch Cup.
Dempsey set the record by scoring 23 goals for Fulham in all competitions a year ago.
Of course, there are a few important distinctions to make between Altidore's torrid scoring pace and Dempsey's mark from last year. Without taking anything away from Altidore, a bit of context is necessary.
For one thing, Altidore plays as a striker, whereas Dempsey plays as either a winger that likes to drift inwards or as a central attacking midfielder. In other words, Altidore is going to see far more opportunities to score in a game than Dempsey.
And with all due respect to the Dutch Eredivisie, Dempsey was playing in the English Premier League, which simply has superior competition.
Still, it's a great sign to see Altidore scoring, no matter the competition. In his defense, he has scored 24 goals and we're still just three days into March. With 10 games left in his season, he could end up smashing Dempsey's record.
The United States has long lacked a strong striker, and if Altidore can translate his fine form to the international stage, the U.S. will have a dangerous trio of playmakers for World Cup qualifying in Altidore, Dempsey and Michael Bradley.
If Altidore notches a few goals in that competition, I'm sure Dempsey will hardly care that he has relinquished his crown as the American goal-scoring king in European club football.