Altidore adjusting to heavier burden 

May, 21, 2010

More than once during our recent sit-down interview above adidas' flagship Manhattan store, Jozy Altidore was quick to downplay the widely held assumption that he'll be in the starting lineup when the Americans' World Cup campaign kicks off against England on June 12.

"I have to make the team first, before we get into any of that," Altidore insisted. That's exactly what he's supposed to say. But as the top striker on coach Bob Bradley's 30-man preliminary roster, the 20-year old is as surefire a lock for the final 23 as Landon Donovan or Tim Howard.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.