June 11, 2013
FIRMLY IN CONTROL
Altidore, Johnson lead US to win over Panama and the top of the Hexagonal standings
SEATTLE---Jozy Altidore scored his third goal in as many games and hometown favorite Eddie Johnson added a second half insurance tally as the United States defeated Panama 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in front of 40,847 at CenturyLink Field Tuesday night.
|Eddie Johnsonís 53rd-minute goal against Panama left him third on the U.S. all-time World Cup Qualifying scoring list.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Altidore, who scored for the first time in more than a year and a half last week against Germany, then added a goal Friday night against Jamaica, staked the United States to a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute.
Michael Bradley made a run out of the center circle up the middle and played the ball out wide to Fabian Johnson. Johnson got the ball on the edge of the 18 yard box on the left and played it across to Altidore on the right for a perfect finish.
Johnson, who is now third on the U.S. all-time World Cup Qualifying scoring list, gave the Americans some breathing room in the 53rd minute. Geoff Cameron played a ball over the defense, while Johnson made a diagonal run to remain on side. Timing his run perfectly, Johnson then finished with a left footed shot into the side netting.
Both teams seemed to struggle early on with the patchy grass that was laid down over the artificial turf at the home of the Seattle Sounders.
Once they got their footing, the U.S. dominated, setting themselves up squarely on the top of the Hex, following a 0-0 draw between Mexico and Costa Rica at Azteca Stadium.
Altidore thought he should have gotten a penalty kick four minutes before scoring his goal, but he did not get the call.
The U.S. put constant pressure on the Panamanians in what may have been their best game under coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
In the 38th minute, Cameron put a well placed header on goal, but it was caught by goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Three minutes later, the U.S. came close to going up by two goals when Bradley came in on a loose ball and slammed a shot from outside the 18. The ball looked like it was headed into the net, but hit Clint Dempsey and deflected away.
After taking the two goal lead, the U.S. came close to scoring two more, on back to back plays, first when a shot by Altidore was stopped by Penedo. The rebound fell to Dempsey who hit the crossbar with his shot.
Dempsey came close again in the 72nd minute, when he tried to slip a ball into the lower left corner, but the shot went just wide.
A minute later, Altidore played provider for Damarcus Beasley, who hit the post with his shot.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard had to make only one save in the game, that didn't come until two minutes into stoppage time when Rolando Blackburn beat the offside trap and got behind the defense for a shot.
The U.S. plays another World Cup Qualifier at home next week, Tuesday June 18 against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.