I mean, besides, obviously, qualify for the World Cup.

And my ‘one thing’ is kind of an overarching thing that will involve a lot of moving pieces. But to put it simply: build the United States Men’s National Team around Jozy Altidore.

He will be 24 in 2014 and 28 in 2018, so we can at least expect him to be around and performing in the next two World Cups (and possibly on the bench in 2022). So he’ll be approaching his peak at next World Cup.

He’s scoring goals left and right in Holland. And while the Eredivisie may not be the best league, it still produces quality play and players and no one else looks likely to be producing at a comparable level in a comparable (or superior) league.

If we’re going to score goals and win games – not just now (when older players like Dempsey can take up the slack), but in two years (when Dempsey and, if he’s back, Donovan, will both be on the wrong side of thirty) – USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has to find a way to get Altidore to start scoring and producing for the national team. It’s not optional. He can’t say, well, he’s just not able to produce for us, so we’ll do something else. No. There is almost zero chance of an attacking player in his mid to late twenties stepping to a high enough level to win us some games against the world’s best by then (not impossible – someone like Terence Boyd or even Juan Aguedelo could improve dramatically and also begin playing for a higher tier league, but it seems unlikely that it will happen soon enough).

So build the team around Altidore. AZ Alkmaar, like many Dutch teams, play a 4-3-3 with a attacking central midfielder that makes it something of a hybrid betweena 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1. Either way, Altidore is the man in the center. And while other players are by no means afraid of taking shots, the wingers/wide forwards and attacking midfielders have a brief to supply service to Altidore.

Now, I haven’t seen enough his club games to really say what, uniquely, the team does to get the best out of Altidore, but surely the coach of the United States Men’s National Team could find someone in the Netherlands with a tivo who could send him some game footage. What I have seen suggests that, while he’s hard working and just play as a pure poacher, he stays fairly high up the pitch; he’s got good speed, enough to beat most central defenders, but more often uses his strength to muscle himself some space amongst opposing defenders.

Do they play with speedy wingers? Then start putting speedy players like Brek Shea and John Gatt on the wing, even if there are better players out there, because it’s about what’s best for the team (and what’s best for the team, at least in the attacking third, is what’s best for Jozy).

Do they play with a wide player who’s more of a wide forward who uses their own goal threat to create space for Altidore? Fine, then play Dempsey on the wing.

Or are they players who depend less on the speed than on the quality and precision of their service into the attacking areas? Paging Graham Zusi, Freddy Adu, Sacha Kljestan, and Landon Donovan.

Does the attacking midfielder play close to Altidore, almost as a second striker? Then put Dempsey behind him.

Or does their trequartista play deeper and control speed and tempo and look for the killer pass to start the counterattack? Freddy Adu, maybe, or take a gander Jose Torres and Kljestan in that spot.

Or does that player make fast runs from deep? Donovan or Mixx Diserud should get a look then.

I don’t care. We just don’t have another striker who is reliably scoring goals at a high enough level. Put aside whatever tactical ideas you have, Jurgen, and start figuring out what helps Jozy score goals.

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