Altidore and Johannsson have recently seen their club coaches fired, and they are both returning to new managers with solid reputations who just might help them reach new heights.
Sunderland’s appointment of Gus Poyet as manager signals what the Black Cats will be hoping is a drastic departure from the tyrannical reign of Paolo Di Canio, which helped drive Sunderland to a winless start to the season.
Poyet and the Black Cats will look to start fresh this weekend when they face Swansea City. Altidore is still searching for his first goal of the club season, and should have a better chance to find it under Poyet, a coach noted for preferring an attack-minded style.
Johannsson didn’t exactly need a coaching change. He was thriving under AZ Alkmaar manager Gertjan Verbeek, but he could have done worse for a replacement than well-respected Dutch boss Dick Advocaat. The well-traveled manager has been in charge of AZ before and carries with him a stellar reputation of promoting attractive soccer, which should help Johannsson continue on his trajectory as one of the most promising young players in the U.S. national team pool.
Johannsson and AZ return to action with a match against Cambuur Leeuwarden, which should allow the lanky striker an opportunity to continue his torrid scoring pace for the ninth-place club in the Eredivisie.
The weekend’s action featuring Americans abroad also includes Brad Guzan and Aston Villa taking on Tottenham on Saturday, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City face West Bromwich Albion. Tim Howard and Everton will look to resume their improbable push for a top four place in the English Premier League with a win against Hull City.
In the League Championship, Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest will look to continue their impressive start to the season with a win against AFC Bournemouth, while Tim Ream and Bolton try to climb out of the basement with a victory against Sheffield Wednesday. Danny Williams and Reading take on Doncaster Rovers.
In Germany, Steve Cherundolo will look to make his return from injury with a tough test as Hannover takes on Borussia Dortmund. John Brooks is also in contention for a return from an elbow injury as Hertha Berlin faces Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
In France, U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya will look to lead Nantes into the top four of Ligue 1 with a win against struggling Ajaccio. Bedoya has become a regular starter for the French club, and will want to impress after a less than stellar turn with the U.S. team last week.