In their final game before travelling to Brazil for the start of the tournament, Jurgen Klinsmann’s side claimed a well-deserved victory, overturning the Africans, who are now without a win in their last four outings.
The performance of Altidore was the most glaring positive from the game for the US, but full-backs DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson, and midfielders Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey also impressed in front of a 52,000-strong crowd in Jacksonville.
Both sides started off slowly, with goalscoring opportunities at a premium. Bradley forced Vincent Enyeama into a couple of saves, following shots from outside the box, but after 32 minutes, the USA took the lead.
Fabian Johnson’s surging run into the box resulted in a pass across the face of goal, where Altidore was on hand to end a goal drought of 185 days for club and country.
And the Sunderland striker doubled his tally in emphatic style, taking a Michael Bradley ball on his chest before cutting inside and slamming a shot high into the net, giving Enyeama no chance.
Nigeria halved the deficit late in the game, when Victor Moses converted from the penalty spot after Matt Besler brought him down in the box, but the US held out for the win as both sides now travel to Brazil for the World Cup.
23’ BRADLEY SHOT – Bradley comes close to finding the net! Driving off the right wing the Toronto FC star fires off a shot at goal, forcing Enyeama into a solid diving save down to his right. Good effort by Bradley.
31’ OPENER – Jozy has his goal! It was a simple finish, with the ball played across the face of goal by Johnson, but Altidore knocks it home to make it 1-0 to the Americans!
43’ CHANCE – A loose pass from Beckerman allows Nigeria to spring forward on the attack. However, Jones tracks back well to make the interception, preventing Odemwingie from going clean through on goal.
64’ CLEARCUT - What a chance, what a save! Dempsey drives his way through the Nigeria defence, feigning and dipping his shoulder to weave through a couple of tackles. But his low shot is saved by Enyeama!
68’ ALTIDORE STUNNER – What a goal! Altidore takes a Bradley pass on the chest, before cutting inside onto his stronger foot and slamming a shot past the keeper. Wow!
84’ HOWARD SAVE – Emenike breaks the offside trap, getting in between two US defenders to set himself through on goal. But from about 16 yards Howard makes a good save to keep his clean sheet. Nigeria should have scored there,
86’ PENALTY GOAL - After being brought down by Besler in the box, Moses dusts himself down and converts the spot kick with ease, sending Howard in the wrong direction.
Jozy Altidore scored his first goal in 185 days for both club and country.
Tim Howard picked up his 100th cap for the US national team.
The USA completed 285 passes in the first half, with a completion rate of 94%.
TALKING POINT – Is Jozy Altidore back to his best?
The Sunderland striker has endured a torrid season. Having scored nearly 50 goals for club and country in 2013, Altidore ended this campaign with just one Premier League goal to his name. But Klinsmann’s decision to stick with the tortured striker paid dividends, as he now heads into the World Cup full of confidence. Is Altidore back to his best at the right time?
MAN OF THE MATCH – Jozy Altidore
He could hardly miss for his first goal, but it gave him the confidence to turn in easily his best performance for club and country in 2014. Altidore used his physicality to hold up the ball, allowing Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley to join in with attacks. And his second goal demonstrated just how much of a battering ram he can be up front.
USA – Howard 6, Johnson 8, Besler 6, Cameron 7, Beasley 7, Beckerman 6, Jones, 7, Bradley 8, Bedoya 6, Dempsey 7, Altidore 9. Subs – Diskerud 5, Gonzalez 4, Wondolowski 4, Zusi 6.
Nigeria – Enyeama 6, Ambrose 6, Yobo 5, Oboabuna 5, Oshaniwa 4, Mikel 6, Azeez 6, Onazi 6, Ameobi 5, Odemwingie 7, Moses 7. Subs: Emenike 6.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jozy Altidore
- Michael Bradley
- Clint Dempsey
- Fabian Johnson