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MLS Weekend Review

Altidore Injured Yet Again, McNamara Shines Bright

Jozy Altidore's recurring hamstring issues continue to put Jurgen Klinsmann in a tough spot. In happier news, NYCFC attacker Tommy McNamara is the new Clint Mathis—an MLS Yank who's fun to watch.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
May 16, 2016
3:20 PM

Altidore injured Yet Again

Terrible luck? Bad timing? A medical condition?

At this point it’s unclear. What is clear is that Jozy Altidore is likely to either miss or be limited in his third straight major international tournament for the United States. Altidore, 26, injured his hamstring while taking a penalty—which was saved—in TorontoFC's loss to Vancouver on Saturday.

Sebastian Giovinco, the first-choice penalty option for Toronto, wanted Altidore to take the shot to get the troubled designated player going. The New Jersey native has yet to score this season and his miss was costly as Toronto went on to lose a thriller 4-3.

Altidore's injury woes are becoming a huge problem for the U.S. national team. Altidore suffered a hamstring injury 20 minutes into the 2014 World Cup and would not play another minute in Brazil. Last summer at the Gold Cup, Altidore was removed from the team after the group stages after another hamstring issue rendered him ineffective. This summer a hamstring injury will likely cost him a chance at the Copa America Centenario—the biggest soccer tournament on U.S. soil since 1994.

When combined with the ongoing injures to Aron Johannsson, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann just does not have a lot of options up top. Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey are likely starters in a two forward setup. Seattle Sounders rookie Jordan Morris is also in the mix. After that, the aging Chris Wondolowski will also likely have to step in and play a role or Gyasi Zardes will have to shift out of the wing and to forward.

It’s far from ideal and in the years ahead leading up to Russia, getting depth at forward is crucial for Klinsmann due to the unreliability of the current group.

Tommy McNamara is on the rise

No player has seen his stock rise as much as New York City FC’s Tommy McNamara. On a team that features World Cup winners and players who have excelled at the highest level. McNamara is proving to be a huge difference maker.

Last week it was his backheel assist to David Villa in a 2-0 win over D.C. United. On Sunday it was his remarkable shot on the game-winning goal that even drew an incredulous reaction from Andrea Pirlo, who assisted on the play.

The big-name starts on NYCFC draw the fans but it is McNamara, 25—a local guy from West Nyack, N.Y.—who makes things happen for this team. He tries stuff that has a high degree of difficulty and so far this season, he is executing. He’s also an American face on a team that tries very hard to be a European import in MLS.

McNamara might be the most watchable American in MLS since Clint Mathis played for the Metrostars, and what’s crazy is that it would hardly be a surprise if McNamara ends up playing for Ireland internationally since he holds an Irish passport through his grandfather.

Rosenberry for Rookie of the Year?

It has been while since a quality young American fullback has come out of MLS but the Philadelphia Union’s Keegan Rosenberry is earning accolades for his defending skills which have included one-on-one stops with some of the best players in the league. 

The Georgetown University product has become a key part of the equation in Earnie Stewart and Jim Curtin’s rebuilding of a Union team that has made the playoffs just once in its history. What is so impressive about Rosenberry is that he is polished in his rookie year. There is very little about him that can be described as raw.

And it's not just his defending. Offensively, he is now learning how to get forward into dangerous positions and make big offensive plays. On Wednesday Rosenberry scored his first goal in a 2-2 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Right after the SuperDraft, the Union were criticized for taking Rosenberry over Stanford captain and left back Brandon Vincent. Well, Stewart and Curtin were absolutely correct in that decision. What a steal.

Right now the rookie of the year race looks like it will come down to Rosenberry, Jordan Morris, and possibly Jonathan Campbell, who is a bright spot on a struggling Chicago Fire team

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