June 7, 2014
Altidore snaps marathon scoring slump with 2 goals in USA's 2-1 win over Nigeria
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jozy Altidore broke his marathon scoring drought in a spectacular way, striking twice as the United States recorded a 2-1 victory in its final World Cup warm-up match at EverBank Field on Saturday night.
|Jozy Altidore scored his goals 36 minutes apart.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Altidore, who had not found the back of the net over 27 matches for club and country, connected in the 32nd and 68th minutes. Victor Moses converted a penalty kick in the waning minutes for the Nigerians.
Moses' goal spoiled a shutout bid by USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was honored in pre-game ceremonies for playing in his 100th international match.
The hosts completed their three warm-up matches with a 3-0 slate. They bested Azerbaijan, 2-0, in San Francisco, Calif. on May 27 and edged Turkey, 2-1, in Harrison, N.J. on June 1.
In contrast to its first two warm-up games, the USA did not deploy their diamond formation. Instead, the Americans used a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman as the two defensive midfielders and Michael Bradley in a more attacking role.
The USA took a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute on Altidore's 22nd international goal. It broke Altidore's personal scoring drought at 1,893 minutes, dating back to December.
An overlapping right fullback Fabian Jones sent the striker a ball from the right side across the goalmouth. Altidore, who was standing unmarked on the left side, had an easy time tapping the ball home with his right foot from four feet past goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
Goal-scoring opportunities for both teams in the opening half were few and far between. Before Altidore's score, Michael Bradley's blast off a Clint Dempsey's feed was knocked away by Enyeama for a corner kick in the 24th minute.
Howard enjoyed a relatively quiet opening half, as his most difficult situation came in the 44th minute, when he stopped Efe Ambrose's quick header.
Dempsey almost doubled the lead in the 65th minute, but he was denied by Enyeama.
Only three minutes later, Altidore made sure the USA had its two-goal advantage. He latched onto a long Bradley feed and fired a 12-yard shot past Enyeama.
The Africans managed to slice the lead in half in the 86th minute on Moses' penalty kick after center back Matt Besler took down the Nigeria attacker in the penalty area. Moses drilled his shot to the lower left corner for his seventh international goal.
The USA team will leave for Brazil on Sunday. After playing Belgium in a closed-door match, the Americans will meet Ghana in Natal on June 16, Portugal in Manaus on June 22 and Germany in Recife on June 26.