Jozy Opens the Door to Brazil

Altidore scored the opener

Altidore scored the opener

USA 2 : 0 Panama

The USA successfully negotiated the first of a double header of home games with an eminently comfortable 2-0 win over Panama. They now have ten points and comfortably lead the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying group. With the top three heading to Brazil, the Americans are now within touching distance of the World Cup Finals.

Mexico’s 0-0 draw with Costa Rica leaves them two points ahead of second place. Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson were the goalscorers with Geoff Cameron and Michael Bradley being the stand out players overall.

Both local men, Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans, made the starting eleven. Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron occupied the defensive midfield slot. Omar Gonzalez partnered Matt Besler as centre-halves.

Both sides had early chances with Howard pouching a shot from the right before Fabian Johnson volleyed over Jaime Penedo’s crossbar.

Panama had a reasonable claim for a soft penalty in the 6th minute when a corner kick fell onto Gonzalez’s outstretched arm.

Carlos Rodriguez provided some comedy when haring unchallenged down the left before falling flat on his stomach with no defender nearby.

Alberto Quintero was giving Brad Evans a hard time on Panama’s left but his 26th minute cross was well handled by the US defence. He then tried an absurd dive for a penalty but failed to fool the Mexican referee.

Roman Torres was also grateful for Referee Garcia’s attention to detail when he failed to give a penalty for an Altidore’s embellished fall.

In 35 minutes, USA finally took the lead. Altidore was late and last to time his run superbly to meet an excellent Fabian Johnson cross from the left. Bradley supplied the pass to F Johnson and was the next threat to the Panamanian goal when his long range effort sailed just over.

The fan support was loud all game

The fan support was loud all game

Panama had the ball in the net just before half time but Luis Tejada was just offside.

Seven minutes into the second half, it was 2-0 for the United States. Cameron delivered an outstanding chipped pass to Eddie Johnson. The Sounders striker’s control was perfect, and he honed in on goal before rifling past Penedo.

Altidore was booked for a foul on Cooper but there was no evidence the visitors had anything in their holster to pull themselves back into the match.Rolando Blackburn replaced Anibal Godoy to shake things up, even before the hour mark had passed.

Dempsey scuffed the crossbar after Penedo palmed out an Altidore drive and the Americans looked home and dry but not before Marcos Sanchez was booked for a theatrical dive.

USA were denied what would have been a fantastic third. Cameron swept a majestic pass out to Clint Dempsey, who needed one touch to Altidore. He fed Beasley who hit the upright with the keeper admittedly well positioned.

Joe Corona replaced Fabian Johnson before the end, and Stuart Holden replaced Altidore just before the end.

DaMarcus Beasley will miss the next match after a late caution. Jozy Altidore, Cameron and Tim Howard were also yellow carded during tonight’s match. They join six more players who are also carrying yellow cards: Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and Fabian Johnson. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.

Attendance: 40847

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Tactical Analysis

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Brad Evans, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 4-Michael Bradley, 20-Geoff Cameron; 18-Eddie Johnson (10-Joe Corona, 87), 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson (14-Brad Davis, 87); 17-Jozy Altidore (11-Stuart Holden, 90+1)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Brad Guzan, 2-Edgar Castillo, 9-Terrence Boyd, 15-Michael Parkhurst , 16-Sacha Kljestan, 21-Clarence Goodson, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 2-Leonel Parris, 5-Roman Torres, 23-Felipe Baloy (capt.), 4-Carlos Rodriguez; 8-Marcos Sanchez, 21-Amilcar Henriquez (9-Gabriel Torres, 78), 11-Armando Cooper (10-Nelson Barahona, 60), 19-Alberto Quintero; 20-Anibal Godoy (16-Rolando Blackburn, 59); 18-Luis Tejada
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Luis Mejia, 3-Roberto Chen, 6-Gabriel Gomez, 7-Edwin Aguilar, 13-Jean Carlo Cedeño, 14-Juan de Dios Perez, 15-Kevin Melgar, 17-Luis Henriquez, 22-Rolando Escobar
Head coach: Julio Dely Valdes



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