Jozy Altidore Helps USMNT Clip Canada with Late Header

February 6, 2016

The United States men’s national team beat Canada 1-0 last night in Carson, California when Jozy Altidore headed the ball in off an Ethan Finlay cross in the 89th minute.

The win was the U.S.’s second in this year’s January camp, following the team’s 3-2 victory over Iceland last Sunday.

While Altidore did score the game-winner, he also missed several gilt-edged chances earlier in the contest as the U.S. and their northern neighbors battled through 88 scoreless minutes. This followed Altidore’s performance against Iceland where he also scored – and picked up a nice “hockey” assist on the U.S.’s second goal – but wasted a number of good opportunities through poor touches.

Against Canada, most of the U.S. team struggled with their first touch and their passing accuracy, often playing the ball behind their teammates, to the wrong foot or poorly weighting their passes. Even the U.S.’s most technically astute players, including Lee Nguyen, Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud, struggled to control the ball at times.

Jordan Morris repeatedly put himself in good positions in the match and demonstrated his playmaking ability on several occasions setting his teammates up. However, Morris also struggled with his touch in tight spaces multiple times.

Worst of the Americans on the night was Jermaine Jones, who was once again given duties as a center back. Despite repeatedly showing he can’t play the position in previous games, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann once again set up his midfielder for failure. Jones not only gave the ball away in the defensive third on several occasions, but also committed a clear foul in the box in the first half (no penalty was given) and made repeated overlaps into the midfield exposing the U.S. backline to dangerous counterattacks.

The game also marked the 27th match in a row that Klinsmann has failed to start the same backline in consecutive matches, a stretch that goes all the way back to the 2014 World Cup.

Gyasi Zardes was another American who struggled against the Canadians, as Klinsmann continues to grant the LA Galaxy man starts with the USMNT despite repeatedly showing a technical ability not passing muster at the international level.

Finally, the game was played in front of an abnormally small crowd of 9,274 fans. That followed last week’s game which was played in front of 8,803 fans. When compared to what the U.S. women drew in San Diego just two weeks ago, that number looks even smaller and, at face value, seems to make the USWNT’s bargaining positioning in their ongoing labor dispute with the U.S. federation that much stronger.

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