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Lead by two goals from Jozzy Altidore, the US national team defeated Nigeria 2-1 in their last game before the World Cup.
The US took on the champions of Africa in Jacksonville, FL on a humid afternoon as they hoped to work out any last kinks before they play Ghana on June 16. Nigeria, who will also open up their World Cup June 16 in a game against Iran, will be the second youngest team in the tournament, with the average age of a player being just 25.
Jozzy Altidore had not scored in 28 straight games for club and county before tapping in a goal off a cross from Fabian Johnson in the 32nd minute. The powerful forward had questions regarding his confidence after a disappointing season with Premier League side Sunderland. Those questions can be now be put to rest as Altidore was able to net home his 22nd and 23rd goals in a US jersey. Goals do not come much easier than Altidore’s first one did, it is but safe to say neither he nor Jurgen Klinsmann minded much.
The US looked best when they were transitioning from defense to offense, taking advantage of Nigeria’s inability to make key plays when they were in the attacking third of the field. Michael Bradley looked extremely comfortable in the middle of the field, delivering several impressive passes that lead to scoring chances. One of those chances was converted in the 68th minute when he was able to connect with Altidore. Altidore, clearly feeling confident after his first goal made no mistake, lost a defender before beating the keeper near post.
The US thoroughly outplayed Nigeria throughout the game; however the US was far from perfect. They got a bit sloppy in defense, conceding a penalty in the 86th minute to give Nigeria some life. Tim Howard, who played well when needed in his 100th career cap, was not able to keep out Victor Moses’ well taken penalty.
The 2-1 victory marks the US’s third straight, which should give them confidence heading to Brazil. However, the US will need to have their best soccer ahead of them if they are going to make it out of ‘the group of death,' ESPN reports.