January 16, 2015 / 2:08 PM / 4 years ago

American Altidore returns to MLS with Toronto

(Reuters) - United States striker Jozy Altidore on Friday completed his move from Sunderland to Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC as part of the deal in which former England forward Jermain Defoe moves in the opposite direction.

Jozy Altidore of the U.S. controls the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Ghana at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Altidore, 25, has struggled at Sunderland where he managed just one league goal in 21 league appearances after joining from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in 2013.

At Toronto he will team up with United States team mate Michael Bradley, who last year moved back from Europe for a big- money deal with the Canadian club.

Altidore began his career with the Metrostars, now the New York Red Bulls, before moving at the age of 18 to Spanish club Villarreal.

He had one year loan in the Premier League with Hull City, scoring once, before he was sold by Villarreal to AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.

Altidore was a success with Alkmaar, scoring 38 goals in 59 league games before returning to England for his ill-fated spell with Sunderland.

Toronto have been in MLS for eight seasons but have yet to reach the playoffs despite investing heavily in players and coaching staff.

The club will be hoping that Altidore can capture the kind of form he has shown for Juergen Klinsmann’s national team in which he has been a regular starter, scoring 25 goals in 76 games.

“Our top priority is building a winning club with players that are committed to the TFC vision. Jozy is a special player, and checks off all of the boxes that we look for in a player,” general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said.

MLS’s 20th season kicks off in March.

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond

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