US starts Gold Cup with 2-0 win over Canada
Clint Dempsey slid across the grass and redirected Jozy
Altidore’s cross into the net. At the other end, Tim Howard
smothered one shot, then recovered in time to block another from
Back among regional rivals, the Americans were very much in
their element on Tuesday night, opening their Gold Cup schedule
with a 2-0 win over Canada. The United States was routed by Spain
in an exhibition game last weekend, but all along, the focus has
been on this tournament, which determines the champion of North and
Central America and the Caribbean.
”Coming off the game against Spain, obviously, you got down a
little bit,” Altidore said. ”Now, we’ve just got to build on it,
because it’s only going to get harder from here.”
Altidore scored in the 15th minute and set up Dempsey’s goal in
the 62nd. The Americans have never lost a group stage game at the
The U.S. pressured Canada from the start. The 21-year-old
Altidore, playing his first game at a Gold Cup, scored after
running onto a long pass from Landon Donovan. Although Kevin
McKenna was back to defend, Altidore was able to turn and take a
low shot from a tough angle to the right of the goal. The ball
slipped under goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld and into the net.
There was little Hirschfeld could do about the second goal.
Altidore sent a low cross from to the right of the net, and Dempsey
was able to knock the ball in while sliding across the ground near
the far post. American Juan Agudelo was credited with an assist for
deflecting the ball on its way to Dempsey, but it was Altidore who
set up the play. He was named man of the match.
”For confidence, it was a good thing,” coach Bob Bradley said.
”The movement that led to the first goal and the cross to Dempsey
for the second both were great plays.”
Howard was impressive as well in goal, reacting marvelously to
deflect Ali Gerba’s powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area
with his right hand in the 70th minute. About 15 minutes later,
Howard smothered a shot near the edge of the 6-yard box, then made
another terrific stop on a volley by Gerba.
He finished with four saves.
”Howard was absolute magic,” Canadian coach Stephen Hart said.
”I almost clapped.”
The Americans didn’t field their best lineup in their 4-0 loss
to Spain, putting more emphasis on the Gold Cup. The tournament
champion receives a berth in the 2013 Confederations Cup, an
important World Cup tuneup.
Against Canada, Michael Bradley created an early scoring chance
off a corner kick, shooting from near the top of the penalty area,
but U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra redirected the ball wide.
Altidore put the Americans ahead soon after that, then ran to
the corner flag and kicked at it in celebration.
Oguchi Onyewu was left out of the starting lineup for the
Americans. Coach Bob Bradley went with Tim Ream and Clarence
Goodson in central defense.
”We feel that it’s a good combination,” Bob Bradley said. ”As
we’ve gone through training, we feel like the balance between the
two is good.”
After looking overmatched against Spain’s smooth passing, the
Americans didn’t allow Canada any good chances inside the penalty
area until Simeon Jackson dribbled past Ream and Bocanegra in the
57th minute. Ream was able to recover in time to prevent Jackson
from getting a shot through to the goal.
Dempsey nearly made a spectacular play at the other end in the
second half, back-heeling the ball while diving forward
horizontally after Hirschfeld deflected a cross. The ball went out
of bounds for a corner kick.
”I don’t know what you would call that,” Dempsey said. ”Maybe
a squirrel kick.”
Dempsey’s goal came not too long after that, and the Americans
Notes: Freddy Adu was not one of the 18 active players for the
U.S. … Michael Bradley received a yellow card in the 51st minute
when he tangled with Canada’s Dwayne De Rosario as the Canadians
were trying to set up a free kick. William Johnson of Canada was
booked the following minute when he fouled Jermaine Jones from
behind while the American was making a nice run through the
midfield. … Attendance was announced at 28,209. Toward the end of
the first half, an American fan club behind one of the goals began
chanting ”We can’t hear you!” at a smaller group of Canadian fans
at the opposite end. … There were visible marks on the temporary
grass surface at Ford Field by the end of Tuesday’s doubleheader,
which included two Group C matches. The other was between Panama
and Guadeloupe. Bradley was hopeful more progress can be made with
playing surfaces at indoor facilities like this one. ”Hopefully
there’s technology, there’s better ways to do it, because it’s
tough on the players,” he said.