Altidore’s Late Winner Puts USMNT Over Canada

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Deny Gallagher

It took all of the 90 minutes for the United States to grab the win over Canada, but a late header by Jozy Altidore pushed the Stars and Stripes to a 1-0 victory Friday night in Carson.

The lone goal by Altidore gives him a total of 33 career tallies, which is one shy of Eric Wynalda for third on the U.S. all-time goalscoring list.

The United States were able to shake off a lackluster start to the evening, and create their first meaningful opportunity at the 16 minute mark. Gyasi Zardes found Altidore running into the penalty area. The Toronto FC man was able to use his strength to create separation and get his shot off. Altidore’s strike deflected off the post, hitting Canadian goalie Maxime Crépeau, and deflecting off the post again before the keeper gathered the ball.

Ten minutes later off the corner, Steve Birnbaum nearly scored for the second time in as many games, but the D.C. United player’s effort was directed straight at Crépeau.  In the final 15 minutes of the first half, the United States offense was a lot more fluid, as the hosts put together a series of great combinations that led to the United States creating chances. When halftime whistle blew, however, the sides were still scoreless, with the U.S. holding a seven to one advantage on shots.

In the 53rd minute, Mix Diskerud played a searching ball into the box that found the head of Jozy Altidore. The striker was able to redirect the effort toward the near post, but just missed an on-running Jordan Morris to keep things level. The United States made a number of subs at the hour mark, highlighted by Jerome Kiesewetter coming on for his second career appearance at the senior level.

After Crépeau saved a Jozy Altidore lob shot in the 83rd minute, the New Jersey native finally was able to convert in the 89th.  Ethan Finley of the Columbus Crew came on in favor of Seattle Sounders starlet Jordan Morris. On one of the player’s first touches in the match, he was able to get a cross in from the left flank that found Jozy Altidore on the far post. Using a combination of strength and agility, the striker rose into the Southern California night to head home the game winner.

Moments later the referee blew his whistle, and the United States secured their second victory of 2016.

The United States will resume a crucial 2016 campaign in March when both the senior and the Olympic team head into the World Cup and Olympic Qualifying on March 25th.