The U.S. international scored twice, including a cheeky penalty in the 90th minute, as Toronto FC downed the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 on Saturday.
"I thought Jozy played like a monster," said Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney. "He showed you what he can do."
After drawing his team level in the 32nd minute against the run of play, the 25-year-old striker cooly controlled an aerial pass before being fouled in the 18-yard-box by Whitecaps defender Pa-Modou Kah with the game still hanging in the balance at 2-1.
Altidore, who joined Toronto in January after a difficult spell in England that saw him score just one goal in 42 Premier League appearances at Sunderland, stepped up to the penalty spot and chipped a delicate shot into the roof of David Ousted's net to give his team a victory in the season opener for both clubs.
"For anyone that questioned whether he could score goals, I think he proved something today that he's going to be a handful," said Vanney. "Being able to protect the ball like that and keep the defender away from it, that was just a world-class play. I thought he was outstanding."
Added Altidore with a grin after his audacious effort: "It's a little bit easier to take (penalties) when you're up 2-1. There's a little bit less risk."
Robbie Findley had the other goal for Toronto, while Octavio Rivero opened the scoring for Vancouver, which had the visitors on the ropes early, but instead was left to rue a number of missed chances.
"First half, there was really only one team in it," said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. "Could've scored a couple goals, didn't ... scored one goal. Second half, I think they used their experience to keep the ball, they've got good players, and we just didn't react right in the second half, so we took it on the chin."
The game marked the first test for a Toronto FC roster that underwent another massive overhaul in the off-season. The club has never made the playoffs in its eight years in MLS, and 2014 was especially hard to take after the high-profile additions of Jermain Defoe, American midfielder Michael Bradley and Brazilian forward Gilberto.
Bradley, now Toronto's captain, is the only player remaining from that trio, but the club brought a new set of big names with big price tags this winter, including Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Benoit Cheyrou.
"It's a new formation, new teammates for all of us," said Altidore, who began his career in MLS as a teenager with the New York Red Bulls. "I think the transition will be difficult for everybody, but I thought today we showed especially in the second half that we have the quality when things settle down to unlock the game."
Toronto was fortunate to get out of the first half tied 1-1, but were much better after the break and grabbed the lead in the 59th minute when Findley — who was also playing his first game with his new club — scored off a cross before Altidore sealed it late.
"Early on they certainly caused us trouble with their speed and their athleticism and their mobility," said Bradley. "But I thought once we got a grip on that we handled the game pretty professionally and pretty well."
The afternoon started brightly for the Whitecaps as Rivero, Vancouver's prized off-season acquisition, opened the scoring in the 19th minute after taking a pass over the top and beating Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik between the legs.
The Whitecaps could have easily been up 3-0, however, as Rivero completely botched a golden chance in the eighth minute before Kekuta Manneh saw his effort on another break stopped by Bendik moments later.
"I thought we battled well," said Altidore. "We came back, showed a lot of character, and we started the season off the way we wanted to with three points."
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