The young guns looked good for the U.S. men’s national team in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Iceland, but veteran Jozy Altidore surely impressed as well. The 26-year-old scored once and got the hockey assist on Michael Orozco’s goal in the 59th minute.
The Toronto FC forward was active up top for the United States during his 75 minutes on the StubHub Center pitch, making dangerous runs and drawing four fouls. Injuries have hampered Altidore in recent years and he said he is focused on maintaining his health to have a successful year.
The L.A. Galaxy opened their preseason with a 2-1 win over Armenian side FC Shirak while officially closing their books, reportedly completing a deal with Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, according to the L.A. Times.
De Jong reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth less than $1 million that includes targeted allocation money. De Jong would fill the final roster spot for the Galaxy, who also announced the signings of Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme last week. The Times reports that the combined salary of the three players is less than $1.7 million.
The 31-year-old World Cup finalist from 2010 negotiated out of the final two years of his contract with A.C. Milan that was slated to expire in 2018.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena repeatedly lamented the team’s defensive woes that led to the team’s early playoff exit last season, saying it was necessary to strengthen the defense during the offseason to contend for a sixth MLS Cup. De Jong surely fits the bill in that regard. He is a bruising defensive midfielder known for his physicality. He once kicked Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the chest during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final:
GIF from sbnation
In game news, the Galaxy won their preseason game against FC Shirak with a brace from Jose Villarreal.
After rumors swirled for months, the L.A. Galaxy officially announced the signing of defender Ashley Cole on Wednesday, adding the 35-year-old to the team’s roster without using a designated player tag or targeted allocation money.
“Ashley is one of the world’s most successful defenders and has played at the highest level of competition throughout his career,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “He can provide our defense with valuable experience. We look forward to his contribution to our club this season.”
Cole, who played for Arsenal from 1999-2006 and Chelsea from 2006-2014, is considered one of the best defenders of his generation, but his star has fallen quickly. The 35-year-old’s contract with A.S. Roma was terminated by mutual consent on Tuesday. Cole joined Roma in 2014 but only made 11 appearances with the club, all coming in his first season. He hadn’t played a competitive game for the Serie A side since March 2015.
The former English international made 107 caps for his country, the most for any full back, and played in three World Cups.
The LA Galaxy officially announced the long-suspected signing of Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme on Tuesday. The club used targeted allocation money for the signing and Van Damme will take one of the team’s international roster spots.
The Galaxy, who officially started preseason camp last Friday, have also been linked to Ashley Cole, 35, and Nigel de Jong, 31, and have 26 of their 28 roster spots filled for the upcoming season. Cole has already been released from his club Roma, while de Jong is still signed with AC Milan until 2018.
Van Damme joins L.A. after captaining Belgian side Standard Liege, where he made 205 appearances since 2011. Although he has played both left and center back, Van Damme will likely play in the middle for the Galaxy, head coach Bruce Arena told LAGalaxy.com, making the 32-year-old the replacement for Omar Gonzalez in the backline.
“He’s got good experience, he passes the ball well and he’s a leader,” Arena said. “I think that he’s a guy that’s suitable to help us strengthen our backline.”
Van Damme’s career includes stops in four different countries (England, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) and 30 international caps for Belgium.
Of the team’s eight off-season signings so far, five have been over the age of 30. In addition to the Van Damme deal, the Galaxy acquired goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, 33, midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, 32, forward Mike Magee, 31, and re-signed 34-year-old forward Alan Gordon.
The team also signed Galaxy II players Clement Diop, 24, and Daniel Steres, 25, to the roster, in addition to a draft-day deal for 21-year-old Emmanuel Boateng. The Galaxy drafted 22-year-old Georgetown defender Josh Turnley, but have not officially signed the third-round pick.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber brought some hot takes to MLS Media Day on Tuesday, expressing his displeasure with the way U.S. men’s national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann selects his players.