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Altidore's hat trick highlights play of Americans Abroad

Jozy Altidore seems to have relentless mounds of doubters no matter what he accomplishes on the field. Those same detractors are going to continue having a hard time pointing out the holes and flaws in his game if he keeps performing at the level he is currently playing for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.

Altidore's hat trick Sunday was just the latest piece of evidence submitted to prove his continuing growth as a finisher and a forward, and it boosts his goal total to an Eredivisie-leading seven through five league matches. It's hard not to be impressed by the rate and variety in which Altidore has been scoring. He disguises his runs and movement with intelligence, finishes with both feet and with power and appears aggressive in showing for the ball while linking up in the attack. Any fans who refer to the played-out accusation that he is lazy are showing laziness on their own part and clearly not watching his club games, in which his maturation as a player continues to develop in real time.

The frustration and uncertainty among fans, and the Altidore conundrum as a whole, emanates from the fact that he has just not come close to matching his club production at the international level. For example, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Ricardo Clark and Graham Zusi have more goals -- one apiece -- for the national team in 2012 than Altidore does. He has not scored in a U.S. shirt in more than 10 months, last doing so against Slovenia last November, and he will likely only have three more chances to do so in 2012 given how many more FIFA international dates remain during this year. For a player who has scored multiple goals for the national team in every year dating back to 2008, it is bewildering that as his club career is taking off his international one appears to be regressing.

For that, at least this past year, there is an explanation. For starters, he has only played in six of the national team's nine non-January-camp games this year and only started twice, with a combination of club conflict and apparent lack of fitness in May and June taking their toll on that five-game stretch. When he has been on the field, the plethora of defense-first midfielders and lack of true wingers deployed by Jurgen Klinsmann has hampered the U.S. attack as a whole, not just for Altidore. When given the minutes on the field, Altidore has been unable to replicate his production in the slower-paced system, in which a dearth of service -- see the Sept. 7 game against Jamaica in Kingston -- has often been an issue. It is not as if Altidore is missing his chances with the U.S.; he's just not getting many to work with in the first place, and the lack of continuity can take its toll. All Altidore can do is continue to produce on the club level, hone his skills and prove that he deserves more on-field opportunities with the national team. And when he gets those opportunities, display the same hunger and tenacity that have made him the top scorer in the Netherlands to take away the last bit of material his unwavering doubters are clinging to.

Altidore was not the only American who participated in the USA-Jamaica World Cup qualifiers to find the back of the net this past weekend, as Jose Francisco Torres scored off an audacious free kick to help deliver a victory to Pachuca in Mexico, and Michael Parkhurst continues his improved offensive play while getting forward from his right back position by forcing an own goal with a blast from distance that ricocheted off the post and goalkeeper in an FC Nordsjaelland loss. Here is how the American goal-scorers and non-goal-scorers alike fared playing abroad over the past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):

Premier League

Geoff Cameron, D/M, Stoke City - In the 18, came on as an 85th-minute substitute in Stoke City's 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday.

SEASON: 4 games, 3 starts

Cody Cropper, GK, Southampton - Not in the 18 for Southampton's 6-1 loss to Arsenal Saturday.

SEASON: 0 games

Clint Dempsey, M/F, Tottenham - In the 18, came on as a 78th-minute substitute in Tottenham's 3-1 victory over Reading on Saturday to make his team debut after completing his transfer from Fulham.

SEASON: 1 game

Maurice Edu, D/M, Stoke City - Not in the 18 for Stoke City's 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

SEASON: 0 games

Brad Friedel, GK, Tottenham - Started, played 90 minutes and made one save in Tottenham's 3-1 victory over Reading, continuing to fend off France No. 1 goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for the starting job with Spurs.

SEASON: 4 games, 4 starts, 5 goals allowed

Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes, made three saves and earned the clean sheet in Villa's 2-0 victory over Swansea City on Saturday.

SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts, 1 goal allowed, 2 clean sheets

Tim Howard, GK, Everton - Started, played 90 minutes and made one save in Everton's 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Monday.

SEASON: 4 games, 4 starts, 5 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Villa's 2-0 victory over Swansea City.

SEASON: 4 games, 3 starts

League Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County - Started, played 64 minutes in Derby County's 1-0 loss to Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

SEASON: 2 games, 1 start

Robbie Findley, F, Nottingham Forest - Not in the 18 for Nottingham Forest's 2-2 draw with Birmingham City on Saturday.

SEASON: 0 games

Stuart Holden, M, Bolton - Not in the 18 for Bolton's 2-1 victory over Watford on Saturday.

SEASON: 0 games

Will Packwood, D/M, Birmingham City - Not in the 18 for Birmingham's 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Tim Ream, D, Bolton - Not in the 18 for Bolton's 2-1 victory over Watford.

SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts

Jonathan Spector, D/M, Birmingham City - Started, played 90 minutes in Birmingham's 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

SEASON: 6 games, 5 starts, 1 goal

Zak Whitbread, D, Leicester City - Not in the 18 for Leicester City's 2-1 loss to Wolverhampton on Sunday.

SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

League One

Mike Grella, F, Scunthorpe United - In the 18, did not play in Scunthorpe's 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.

SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Robbie Rogers, M, Stevenage - Not in the 18 for Stevenage's 2-2 draw with Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

SEASON: 4 games, 3 starts

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United - Started, played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 2-2 draw with Swindon Town on Saturday.

SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts

Bundesliga

Timmy Chandler, D, FC Nurnberg - Started, played 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 3-2 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

SEASON: 4 games, 4 starts

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 - Started, played 90 minutes in Hannover's 3-2 victory over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

SEASON: 8 games, 8 starts

Fabian Johnson, D, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Hoffenheim's 5-3 loss to SC Freiburg on Sunday.

SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts

Jermaine Jones, M, FC Schalke 04 - Started, played 90 minutes in Schalke's 2-0 victory over SpVgg Greuther Furth on Saturday.

SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts, 1 goal

Danny Williams, M, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Hoffenheim's 5-3 loss to Freiburg, Williams' former team.

SEASON: 2 games, 1 start

David Yelldell, GK, Bayer Leverkusen - Not in the 18 for Leverkusen's 3-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

SEASON: 0 games

2. Bundesliga

John Anthony Brooks, D, Hertha Berlin - Not in the 18 for Berlin's 2-0 victory over VfR Aalen on Sunday.

SEASON: 3 games, 2 starts

Joe Gyau, M, St. Pauli - In the 18, did not play in St. Pauli's 0-0 draw with FC Cologne on Monday.

SEASON: 0 games

Alfredo Morales, D, Hertha Berlin - Not in the 18 for Berlin's 2-0 victory over VfR Aalen.

SEASON: 1 game

Andrew Wooten, F, SV Sandhausen - In the 18, did not play in Sandhausen's 1-1 draw with Dynamo Dresden on Saturday.

SEASON: 1 game

Serie A

Michael Bradley, M, AS Roma - Not in the 18 for Roma's 3-2 loss to Bologna on Sunday. Bradley is still nursing the leg injury that prevented him from participating in the U.S. national team's two World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica.

SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Primera Division

Oguchi Onyewu, D, Malaga - Not in the 18 for Malaga's 3-1 victory over Levante on Saturday.

SEASON: 0 games

Segunda Division

Carlos Bocanegra, D, Racing Santander - In the 18, did not play in Santander's 3-0 victory over Recreativo Huelva on Saturday. It is not all that surprising that Bocanegra did not see the field for Santander right away, because as of the U.S. national team game against Jamaica last Tuesday, he said he had not met his teammates yet, meaning he had less than a week of training with his new side under his belt.

SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts (all with Rangers)

Eredivisie

Jozy Altidore, F, AZ Alkmaar - Started, played 90 minutes, notched a hat trick and assisted on another goal in AZ's 4-0 victory over Roda JC on Sunday. The hat trick was the first of Altidore's club career, and it displayed his versatility in attacking the goal. While still early in the season, Altidore's seven goals are three clear of the next highest scorer in the Eredivisie, and he is on pace for another career season after scoring a personal-best 19 goals in all competitions last season.

SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 7 goals

Pro League

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht - Started, played 90 minutes in Anderlecht's 1-1 draw with Lierse on Saturday.

SEASON: 11 games, 6 starts, 1 goal

Primeira Liga

Caleb Patterson-Sewell, GK, Vitoria Setubal - Vitoria Setubal did not have a game this past week.

SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts, 7 goals allowed

Tony Taylor, F, Estoril Praia - In the 18, did not play in Estoril's 1-0 victory over Uniao Madeira in the first leg of their second-round League Cup tie on Thursday.

SEASON: 3 games, 2 starts

Bundesliga

Terrence Boyd, F, Rapid Vienna - Started, played 67 minutes in Rapid's 0-0 draw with Admira on Saturday.

SEASON: 11 games, 10 starts, 6 goals

Liga MX

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Puebla - Started, played 90 minutes in Puebla's 3-2 loss to Monterrey on Sunday.

SEASON: 9 games, 9 starts

Jonathan Bornstein, D, Tigres UANL - Not in the 18 for Tigres' 2-0 victory over Cruz Azul on Saturday.

SEASON: 1 game

Edgar Castillo, D, Tijuana - Started, played 90 minutes in Tijuana's 2-1 victory over Atlante on Sunday. Castillo had been out with a foot injury that forced him to miss out on the U.S. qualifiers against Jamaica. Through eight games in the league season, Tijuana sits atop the table with 19 points.

SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts

Joe Corona, M, Tijuana - In the 18, came on as a 65th-minute substitute in Tijuana's 2-1 victory over Atlante.

SEASON: 8 games, 7 starts

Michael Orozco Fiscal, D, San Luis - In the 18, did not play in San Luis' 1-0 victory over Pumas UNAM on Sunday.

SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 1 goal

Greg Garza, D, Tijuana - In the 18, did not play in Tijuana's 2-1 victory over Atlante.

SEASON: 7 games, 5 starts

Herculez Gomez, F, Santos Laguna - In the 18, came on as a 67th-minute substitute in Santos' 2-0 loss to America on Saturday.

SEASON: 7 games, 6 starts, 2 goals

Alejandro Guido, M, Tijuana - Not in the 18 for Tijuana's 2-1 victory over Atlante.

SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Jose Francisco Torres, M, Pachuca - Started, played 71 minutes and scored the eventual game-winning goal off a free kick in Pachuca's 3-2 victory over Morelia on Friday. Torres lined up the set piece, which was taken with almost no angle toward goal from the right sideline, and curled a left-footed shot inside the far upper 90 to give Pachuca a 3-1 lead at the time.

SEASON: 8 games, 8 starts, 2 goals

Superliga

Charlie Davies, F, Randers - In the 18, came on as a 59th-minute substitute in Randers' 4-0 loss to Aalborg on Sunday.

SEASON: 9 games, 1 start

Clarence Goodson, D, Brondby - Started, played 90 minutes in Brondby's 2-2 draw with Horsens on Sunday.

SEASON: 8 games, 8 starts, 1 goal

Conor O'Brien, F, Sonderjyske - Started, played 90 minutes in Sonderjyske's 2-0 loss to Silkeborg on Saturday.

SEASON: 9 games, 9 starts, 2 goals

Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Nordsjaelland - Started, played 90 minutes and forced an own goal that accounted for Nordsjaelland's tally in a 2-1 loss to FC Copenhagen on Saturday. Parkhurst had a left-footed blast from outside the area hit off the right post and off the back of the opposing goalkeeper to give Nordsjaelland a 1-0 lead at the time.

SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Tippeligaen

Chad Barrett, F, Valerenga - Started, played 56 minutes in Valerenga's 3-0 loss to Rosenborg on Sunday.

SEASON: 5 games, 5 starts

Steve Clark, GK, Honefoss - Started, played 90 minutes in Honefoss' 2-2 draw with Viking on Sunday.

SEASON: 22 games, 22 starts, 26 goals allowed, 7 clean sheets

Sean Cunningham, D, Stabaek - Not in the 18 for Stabaek's 2-1 victory over Odd Grenland on Sunday.

SEASON: 21 games, 21 starts

Mix Diskerud, M, Rosenborg - Started, played 90 minutes in Rosenborg's 3-0 victory over Valerenga on Sunday.

SEASON: 6 games, 5 starts, 1 goal

Josh Gatt, M, Molde - Not in the 18 for Molde's 1-0 victory over Haugesund on Saturday.

SEASON: 20 games, 17 starts, 6 goals

Allsvenskan

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Helsingborg IF - Not in the 18 for Helsingborg's 4-0 victory over GIF Sundsvall on Saturday.

SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts, 1 goal

Brian Span, M, Djurgarden IF - In the 18, came on as a second-half stoppage time substitute in Djurgarden's 3-0 loss to AIK on Sunday.

SEASON: 6 games, 1 start, 1 goal

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