June 7, 2011
Altidore leads as U.S. blanks Canada 2-0
DETROIT -- Striker Jozy Altidore scored the first goal and set up the second to help the United States to a 2-0 Group C victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday night.
|Jozy Altidore had a goal and an assist in the USA's 2-0 win over Canada
By Michael Lewis
Big Apple Soccer Editor
In the first game of the doubleheader before 28,209 at Ford Field, Panama held off 10-man Guadeloupe to secure a 3-2 win.
Clint Dempsey gave the Americans some breathing room with a second-half goal and goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was experienced a relatively quiet match, made two key saves in the waning minutes to preserve his clean sheet.
The Canadians realized it was going to be a difficult game before the kickoff as veteran midfielder Julian de Guzman did not dress due to an undisclosed injury.
At times during the first half, it seemed the U.S. laid seige to the Canada goal with a number of shots from inside the area. But the Canadians defended in numbers and always seemed to have a body to block or deflect an American shot, whether it was from the run of play, a free kick or a corner kick.
As it turned out, the U.S.'s first goal went off a Canadian -- the hands of goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld -- in the 15th minute.
Altidore held off Canada captain and defender Kevin McKenna on the right side of the penalty area and sent a blistering shot that Hirschfeld could not handle for a 1-0 U.S. lead and his 11th international goal.
Altidore found himself on the left side of the box in the 23rd minute and tried to make it a brace, but his shot was considerably weaker and Hirschfeld had an easy time gathering it in.
After taking a Clarence Goodson feed, Altidore tried to become a playmaker in the 27th minute when his pass from the right side of the area found Juan Agudelo, but the 18-year-old striker put his shot into the stands.
Dwayne De Rosario had Canada's best scoring opportunity in the first half in the 33rd minute, launching a 25-yard attempt that missed the right post.
Agudelo put one on target that Hirschfeld managed to knock out of bounds in the 40th minute.
Canada came out with more intensity in the second half, but could not put anything dangerous on goal early on.
But the Americans certainly did.
Only two minutes after Agudelo almost scored a spectacular goal off his back heel, Clint Dempsey tallied a pretty nifty one of his own. Altidore sent a right-wing pass to the Dempsey, who beat his man, and slid the ball home for a 2-0 advantage in the 62nd minute.
Second-half sub Ali Gerba almost gave Canada some life as he sent a hard shot just to the left of the U.S. goal in the 69th minute.
And when Canada did take aim at the American goal late in the match, Howard made two vital saves within a span of seconds in the 85th minute, including denying Gerba from point-blank range.