Jozy Altidore scores late to lift USMNT over Canada

BY Kyle McCarthy • February 6, 2016

Altidore decided this labored affair a minute before time to extend the American unbeaten run over Canada to 17 matches. Michael Bradley picked out late substitute Ethan Finlay on the left and played him into space. Finlay collected and then swung a tempting cross toward the back post. Altidore rose highest to nod home the winner and send the Americans back to their clubs with a second victory within a week.

"For the whole team, it gave everybody a lift when we scored," Altidore said after the victory. "We've all put the work in together as a team, as a group, so to end it and celebrate as a group is a huge plus."

It proved a largely deserved result in the end. Canada attempted to hold out for as long as possible, but the Americans generated most of the chances without taking them until the last possible moment. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann must demand more precision from his charges going forward, but he can at least point to the positive result in the end as the preparations commence for the pair of World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala next month.

"They got rewarded tonight with that late goal," Klinsmann told reporters following Friday's match. "They more than deserved that result, that win. There was only one team playing, and it was us. Canada, the first 20-25 minutes, was all right. They tried to open up the game, and then it was just us doing all the work."

Canada opened confidently and pushed high up the field in a bid to unsettle the Americans. Benito Floro asked his players to close down the opposition at the outset and watched his players achieve their brief. Julian de Guzman nearly profited with his darting run through the middle, but his first touch carried him away from goal and scuttled the chance.

It took the Americans the better part of a quarter of an hour to break the initial pressure and wrest control over the proceedings. They struggled to use possession effectively, but they managed to place Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau under duress occasionally nevertheless.

Crépeau thanked his near post for salvation inside 17 minutes. Altidore latched onto Gyasi Zardes’ slotted ball through the line and slid his effort toward the near post. The ball pinged off the frame before Crépeau reacted adequately and hit the post a second time before bounding away to safety.

The near miss marked the high point of a frustrating first half. There were half-chances squandered here and there, while Jordan Morris scooped wide of goal as Crépeau rushed off his line to close shortly before halftime. Those efforts failed to obscure the lack of precision from both sides or separate the sides before the interval.

Canada conceded acres of space after the break resumed and tempted the Americans to push forward in a bid to break them down. The balance essentially invited the hosts to conjure some way through against the defiant, if somewhat pliable, opposition.

The openings emerged more readily, but Crépeau proved himself a capable last line of defense. The Montréal Impact goalkeeper reacted well to prevent Morris from tucking home Lee Nguyen’s clever clip and parried away attempts by Altidore and Bradley just before the hour.

Klinsmann introduced Jerome Kiesewetter and Darlington Nagbe shortly thereafter and received the desired improvement in the subsequent minutes. Kiesewetter prompted a spurned Altidore chance, while Nagbe spurred an uptick in movement and possession as the match entered the final 20 minutes.

All of the pressure finally told in the dying embers of the game. Bradley played Finlay into space on the left. Finlay whipped an inviting cross toward the back post for Altidore to break the deadlock at long last and ensure this training camp ended with a second victory.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.