JACKSONVILLE, Florida–The United States Men’s National Soccer team came out on top with a 2-1 victory in a match against Nigeria Saturday evening. The game marks the third straight win for the U.S. team and the second against the Nigerian club.
It was a quiet first half hour of action between the two sides in what looked to be written as a scoreless first half. However the United States made noise in the 31st minute when forward Jozy Altidore scored the game’s first goal, ending his six-month scoring drought for the team. Altidore’s roommate, and U.S. defensemen Fabian Johnson made Jozy’s finish easy when he sent a cross into the six yard box allowing for a tap in by Altidore.
Altidore knows that the relationship off the field between himself and Johnson has translated to success on the field.
“He’s my roommate.” Altidore would go on and say. ”We’re very lucky to have him, he’s a great personality on the team and you see what he brings. He’s up and down, he scores goals, and he creates them. He’s a problem for other teams.”
The Americans took a 1-0 lead into the second half, outshooting Nigeria seven to five. The United States almost reached the scoreboard again early in the second half when Clint Dempsey failed to produce in a one on one situation with Vincent Enyeama, the Nigerian goalkeeper. It was just four minutes later that the United States extended its lead to 2-0. Altidore drove home his second goal of the game in the 68th minute after receiving a beautiful ball from Michael Bradley near the top of the 18-yard box. Altidore wasted no time, taking just a couple touches before ripping the ball past the Nigerian keeper. The play not only earned Altidore his second goal of the game, but it gave Bradley his 10th all time assist in 86 appearances with the National squad.
Even after a six month goalless streak, Altidore says his confidence hasn’t changed.
“To be honest it makes no difference. I don’t know if it’s weird to you, it’s not weird to me. I’ve played for this team for such a long time that I think it’s my responsibility to kind of help the team in other ways,” he said.
Nigeria wouldn’t be left scoreless in their trip to Florida, collecting a somewhat cheap goal in the 86th minute when a penalty was called inside the 18-yard box resulting in a penalty kick. Nigeria’s Victor Moses would send the penalty kick to the back of the net tightening the game up 2-1 with just minutes remaining.
In the team’s last outing on home soil before heading to Brazil and the World Cup, American goalkeeper Tim Howard made his 100th start for the squad. Howard picked up four saves in the game, allowing just the one late goal.
The game was a great tune up for the American side, allowing 16 of the 23 men on their roster to see action in the game. The three game win streak is the longest that the U.S. has ever had entering a World Cup.
U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann is excited to be in Brazil.
“Most importantly the last three and a half weeks we have gotten a lot of work done. We’re going to do another training test against Belgium down there, and I think everybody will be ready.” Klinsmann continued. “We can’t wait to start that tournament”
With the win, the American side improves to 2-0-0 against Nigeria all time. The Jacksonville crowd played a key role in Saturday’s match as 52,033 people attended, a record for a USMNT game in the southeast. The National Team is now 4-0-1 when playing in Jacksonville and 17-16-9 in Florida.
The real test now comes on the 16th of this month when the U.S. takes on Ghana in its World Cup opener.
To hear comments from the game, click below.