June 14, 2011
By Michael Lewis
BOOKED FOR QUARTERS
Altidore goal advances U.S.
Big Apple Soccer Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The United States booked a spot in the Gold Cup quarterfinals with a 1-0 Group C win over Guadeloupe on Tuesday night.
|Jozy Altidore's goal gave the U.S. a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe on Tuesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Jozy Altidore's ninth-minute goal was enough to lift the U.S. to the win before a capacity crowd of 20,109 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
The Americans (2-1-0, six points), who finished second to Panama in the group, will face Group B champion Jamaica at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. Guadeloupe finished winless at 0-3-0.
The Americans could have made life much easier on themselves, but they missed a myriad of scoring opportunities.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley made two changes from the starting lineup that lost to Panama, 2-1, on Saturday. He benched central defender Tim Ream, who did not dress, for Eric Lichaj, who moved to left fullback while captain Carlos Bocanegra switched to the middle. He also pulled Juan Agudelo in favor of striker Chris Wondolowski.
The Gwada Boys gave the Americans a scary moment three minutes into the game. After being awarded a corner kick on a shot that goalkeeper Tim Howard appeared to have saved in-bounds, Guadeloupe almost scored. Defender Stephane Zubar got a hold of a clearance and fired a deflected shot off the crossbar.
Six minutes later, the U.S. grabbed the lead on a 28-yard rocket by Altidore. Taking a Michael Bradley pass on the right side, Altidore took a couple of strides. With Guadeloupe captain Stephane Auvray beside him, Altidore blasted a shot to the upper near right corner past goalkeeper Franck Grandel for his 12th international goal.
The rest of the game turned into an affair of American near misses as midfielder Clint Dempsey failed to score on four clear chances.
Dempsey had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute. After a nice run down the right flank, Landon Donovan sent in a cross that unmarked Dempsey headed one-bounce just to the left of the net.
In the 29th minute, an overlapping right fullback Steve Cherundolo almost connected off a cross to a sliding Chris Wondolowski, but Grandel managed to snare the ball before the San Jose Earthquakes forward could connect.
The U.S. continued to cause all sorts of mayhem in and around the Guadeloupe penalty area, but could not score.
Dempsey missed another header off a Michael Bradley feed from the left side of the area in the 36th minute. This time he headed a Bradley feed barely wide right of the goal.
The U.S. kept attacking. Wondolowski had two chances within seconds to put the Americans up by two goals in the 42nd minute, but Grandel blocked both attempts.
Jermaine Jones set up Landon Donovan from the left side, but the veteran midfielder shot over the crossbar from point-blank range in the 57th minute.
Dempsey got back into the act once again in the 60th minute when his free kick bounded off the crossbar.
Alone in front of the net in the 76th minute, Dempsey somehow lost concentration and had what should have been a relatively easy tap-in cleared out of harmís way by a defender.