U.S. Soccer

Jozy Altidore Scores Twice as U.S. MNT Defeats Nigeria 2-1 in Final Match of Send-Off Series


JACKSONVILLE, Florida (June 7, 2014) – Forward Jozy Altidore scored his first two goals of 2014 as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Nigeria 2-1 in front of a Florida-record crowd of 52,033 at EverBank Field.

With the start, goalkeeper Tim Howard became the 15th U.S. MNT player to reach 100 caps while also picking up the victory to break Kasey Keller’s all-time goalkeeper wins record for the United States.

The U.S. went 3-0-0 during the Send-Off Series and now sets its sights on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The USA will depart for South America on June 8 to begin final preparations for its Group G opener against Ghana on June 16 at Estadio Das Dunas in Natal.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson), 31st minute: A fantastic series of passes down the right side set up Jozy Altidore to break the deadlock. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya dribbled down the right wing and spied Fabian Johnson making a darting run into the penalty area. He cut a short pass to the overlapping right back who slide a cross on the ground into the six-yard box where Altidore was unmarked for the tap-in. For Altidore, it is his first goal of 2014. USA 1, NGA 0 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley), 68th minute: Michael Bradley played a beautiful ball from midfield to Jozy Altidore in the left side of the penalty area. Altidore settled, cut inside to evade Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo and then fired the ball past Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama inside the near left post. His second tally of the match was his 23rd  international goal. USA 2, NGA 0 (SEE GOAL)

NGA – Victor Moses (penalty), 86th minute: With the game wide open in waning minute minutes and both teams attacking with fervor, Nigeria’s Victor Moses drew a penalty against U.S. defender Matt Besler and took the subsequent penalty kick. Moses took a slow approach on the kick before placing his right-footed shot into the lower left corner as U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard went the opposite direction. USA 2, NGA 1 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
NGA – Godfrey Oboabona, 20th minute: The U.S. spent the first 20 minutes trying to get a hold of the game, but did have some good moments on the counter attack, and one potential chance came when Clint Dempsey stole the ball at midfield and fed to DaMarcus Beasley on the left. Beasley crossed into the box, but Nigeria defender Godfrey Oboabona broke up the USA’s opportunity to keep the score level at 0-0.

NGA – Vincent Enyeama, 23rd minute: Quick touches from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey in the midfield paved the way for Michael Bradley on the right side. After a couple touches, Bradley shot with his right from just outside the box and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made a diving save to his right, parrying the ball away for a U.S. corner kick.

USA – Tim Howard, 44th minute: Nigeria held the ball in its half for nearly the final five minutes of the first half. The closest chance came off of a corner kick from the left side as Eric Efe Ambrose rose for the header in between Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey. His low shot was driven toward Tim Howard’s feet and the U.S. goalkeeper was quick to smother just in front of the end line.

USA – Tim Howard, 83rd minute: Nigeria second-half sub Emmanuel Emenike turned and shot with his right foot just about the penalty area with eyes on the left side of the net. Tim Howard dove to his right for the stop.

Milestone Watch:

  • Correction: Tim Howard broke Kasey Keller’s wins record on Saturday against Nigeria. Howard was incorrectly named the winner of the USA’s 2-1 victory against Turkey on June 1. Though he left at halftime with the lead, second-half goalkeeper Brad Guzan was awarded the win as he was in the net while Clint Dempsey scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
  • With Saturday’s win, Howard is 54-28-15 all-time, moving just ahead of Keller who finished his brilliant career with a record of 53-27-18. Brad Guzan is now 11-7-3 all-time following the victory against Turkey.
  • Howard is the 15th player and third goalkeeper in U.S. MNT history to reach the 100-cap mark. Howard is now tied for 13th all-time with 100 caps with Tony Meola and Joe-Max Moore.
  • With his 22nd and 23rd goals, Jozy Altidore moves into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time goal scoring list, moving ahead of Bruce Murray who had 21 goals from 1985-93.
  • Clint Dempsey played in his 105th game and is now in 10th place, one appearance behind Eric Wynalda (106 caps from 1990-2000) on the all-time list.
  • Michael Bradley now has 10 assists in his career, tying for 12th all-time with Steve Cherundolo, Chris Henderson, Brian McBride and Earnie Stewart.
  • Bradley earned his 86th cap, moving ahead of Frankie Hejduk and Bruce Murray for 20th all-time. Bradley is also one game behind 19th-place Cherundolo (87 games from 1999-2012).

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT now heads to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The USA opens Group G play against Ghana at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, June 16, at Estadio das Dunas at Natal.
Broadcast information: ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer); Facebook; Instagram

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is 2-0-0 in the all-time series against Nigeria.
  • The U.S. MNT is now 4-1-1 in 2014.
  • The USA is 17-16-9 all-time in games based in Florida and 4-0-1 in Jacksonville.
  • Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started a defensive that featured Tim Howard in goal and a back line featuring left back DaMarcus Beasley, right back Fabian Johnson and center backs Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler.
  • Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya played side-by-side in the 4-3-2-1 formation, with Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey in front of them.
  • Striker Jozy Altidore played up top in the formation.
  • The U.S. is now 8-3-2 with Dempsey as the captain.
  • For the only time in the Send-Off Series, Klinsmann made no changes to start the second half. The USA’s first sub came in the 60th minute, when Graham Zusi entered for Bedoya.
  • With a 2-0 lead in place, Klinsmann went back to his bench in the 72nd minute with Mix Diskerud replacing Beckerman.
  • In the 75th minute, Timmy Chandler replaced Beasley at left back and in the 80th minute, Omar Gonzalez entered for Altidore.
  • Chris Wondolowski was brought in for Dempsey in the 87th minute.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
Date: June 7, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: EverBank Field; Jacksonville, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 52,033
Weather: 83 degrees, overcast

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 1 2
NGA                       0 1 1

USA – Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson)    31st minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley)   68
NGA – Victor Moses (penalty kick)        86

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 5-Matt Besler, 20-Geoff Cameron, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Timmy Chandler, 75); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 60), 15-Kyle Beckerman (10-Mix Diskerud, 72), 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley; 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (18-Chris Wondolowski, 87), 17-Jozy Altidore (3-Omar Gonzalez, 80)
Subs Not Used: 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 6-John Brooks, 9-Aron Johannsson, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 16-Julian Green, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

NGA: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 2-Joseph Yobo (capt.), 5-Eric Efe Ambrose, 13-Juwon Oshaniwa, 14-Godfrey Oboabona; 10-John Obi Mikel (4-Ruben Gabriel, 46), 15-Ramon Azeez (25-Michael Uchebo, 74), 17- Ogenyi Onazi; 8-Peter Osaze Odemwingie (18-Michael Babatunde, 46), 11-Victor Moses, 23-Shola Ameobi (9-Emmanuel Emenike, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Elderson Echiejile, 6-Azubuike Emmanuel Egweukwe, 7-Musa Ahmed, 12-Kunle Odunlami, 16-Austine Ejide, 19-Uche Nwofor, 21-Agbim Chigozie, 22-Kenneth Omeruo
Head Coach: Stephen Keshi

Stats Summary: USA / NGA
Shots: 11 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 10
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
4th Official: Andre Mariner (ENG)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore


Captain Claudio Recalls the Greatest 'Dos a Cero' of All

The U.S. Men’s National Team rode a shock opening win against fourth-ranked Portugal, a draw against the host Korea Republic and a little help from the goalposts to advance to the Round of 16 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Finishing second in the group meant that the MNT would have less than three full days rest to turn around and face regional rivals Mexico in the highest stakes match the two nations had ever played. With little time to prepare, in some respects the U.S. was lucky to have drawn the team with which it was most familiar.

Despite the U.S. having won four of the previous five meetings, according to U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, when the team arrived at Jeonju World Cup Stadium that June afternoon, there wasn’t much respect shown from the opposition side.

“Before the game we walked out and we were walking around the field. We had this focus and concentration as a team as you do preparing for any game,” the former team captain told ussoccer.com. “I was with Eddie Lewis, Frankie Hejduk, Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart and we were ready to go – we were foaming at the mouth for this game. We looked over and the Mexicans were laughing, joking and looking at us…That was it.”

Reyna called the team over to quickly finish their pre-game pitch inspection and head back into the locker room.

“We sort of wanted the game to start, we were so ready to go,” he continued. “Back in the locker room, I remember saying, ‘These guys are laughing at us. They think they’re going to beat us easily.’”

Mexico had done efficient work to get to that point. Having finished with seven points atop a group that featured Italy, Croatia and Ecuador, El Tri’s run to the Round of 16 had the side brimming with self-assurance ahead of the match.

“They were feeling confident, but the lack of respect they showed was clear – you never do that,” said Reyna. “I would never do that in my career, even if I felt really comfortable about beating an opponent. That you’d be giggling, laughing and joking at the opponent. It was pretty clear that it was directed at us and at some of our players, and obviously we play them all the time so there’s that rivalry.”

“I remember saying, ‘We’re not losing this game guys.’ Everyone went around and you could feel it all the way through that we couldn’t wait to get out there.”


Reyna gets past Ramon Morales in the most famous "Dos a Cero" in Men's National Team history.

Injuries and suspensions limited the U.S. options, and Bruce Arena used the uncertainty to confound the Mexicans by deploying a 3-5-2 formation for the match. The switch saw Reyna move from his regular central midfield position to the right flank, with the move paying off almost immediately. Following an eighth minute foul in the Mexico half, Brian McBride quickly restarted as he saw Reyna pushing up the flank. The U.S. captain beat two defenders to the end line before centering for Josh Wolff, whose deft touch teed up McBride for a clinical finish and an equally gratifying goal celebration.

The goal set an early tone and played perfectly into Arena’s game plan, allowing the U.S. to sit in and pick its moments to counter against an increasingly frustrated Mexican side. Landon Donovan’s second- half header off an Eddie Lewis cross helped ice the game, giving the MNT its first ever World Cup knockout round win and a quarterfinal date with Germany.

“It was just a great team performance. To beat them 2-0, eliminate them and afterwards realize this was a big deal back in the States,” Reyna said.

The win raised the profile of the Men’s National Team more than any other since the 1994 FIFA World Cup, but in an age before social media, Reyna admitted the players didn’t realize how big an impact the victory had made.

“We didn’t know how huge it was at home,” he said. “We were in Korea and we knew it was sort of growing in momentum. I remember seeing some of the news clips from Mexico City where there were people in plazas and squares crying over the result – that felt good.”


U.S. supporters celebrate during the MNT's 2-0 win against Mexico at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Though the momentum was already building towards U.S. domination of the rivalry, the World Cup win tipped the scales. Since 2000, the MNT has held a 13-6-5 advantage against El Tri.

“From that moment on, it continued to be a real domination of Mexico,” Reyna said. “We went on and beat them all the time. That was the point where we felt we were no longer playing behind them, that we were better than them.”

“It was one big coming out party on the biggest stage.” 

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MNT Sep 19, 2016
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