DETROIT (June 7, 2011) â€“ The U.S. Menâ€™s National Team opened the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a well-earned 2-0 victory against Canada at Ford Field in Detroit on Tuesday night.
Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey paced the U.S. while goalkeeper Tim Howard made several superb saves in the second half to earn his 21st career shutout. Seven players â€“ including Altidore â€“ made their first appearance in the Gold Cup for the U.S., who ascended to the top of Group C with the win. Panama sits in second place following a 3-2 victory against 10-man Guadeloupe in the eveningâ€™s first match.
The U.S. has now won its opening match in all 11 Gold Cups, outscoring opponents by a 27-5 margin and posting seven shutouts, and improved their unbeaten record in Gold Cup group play to 24-0-2 all time.
â€œI think itâ€™s a good start. From the moment the group was put together and the first game was Canada, we expected a tough match because this is a good Canadian team,â€ said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. â€œWhen you get into a tournament you need to keep growing. There are some good staring points and things for us to build on.â€
The U.S. continues its quest for aÂ fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title at 8 p.m. ET on June 11 against Panama at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.Â Tickets for the game are available at CONCACAF.com, and the match can be seen live on Fox Soccer and TeleFutura. Fox Soccer will also have a 30-minute pre-game show beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Starters Juan Agudelo, Altidore, Tim Ream and Jermaine Jones were all making their first appearance in the regional championship. The USAâ€™s three subs also made their first appearance in the competition, with Chris Wondolowski, Sacha Kljestan and Maurice Edu earning time on the field.
The U.S. had not faced its neighbor to the north since the semifinals of this competition four years ago and Canada made no secret of its desire to exact some revenge for a close 2-1 defeat at Soldier Field in 2007.
But the U.S. started faster, with Altidore earning a free kick on the edge of the area in the third minute. Demspey stepped up to take the shot but his curling effort was deflected by the Canada wall. On the ensuing corner, Dempseyâ€™s shot was blocked again, with Michael Bradleyâ€™s follow up from eight yards scrambled clear by Canadaâ€™s defense.
In the eighth minute the U.S. fashioned another chance, this time with a ball over the top for Agudelo. After controlling the ball on his thigh, the young forward won the USAâ€™s third corner, leading to a Clarence Goodson attempt and more hesitant defending from the Canadians.
U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra nearly broke the deadlock in the 11th minute but couldnâ€™t find the net from six yards out. The chance came on another corner from Donovan, who found Bradley open at the far post. The midfielder sent a dangerous ball back across the six yard box where Bocanegra poked the ball just wide with his left foot.
The opening minutes belonged to the U.S. and in the 15th minute Bradleyâ€™s team broke through with a flowing move that spread the length of the field. Ream won the ball and released Bradley near the edge of the USA penalty area. Bradley carried the ball with purpose before finding Donovan streaking into Canadaâ€™s half with plenty of space on the right wing. Donovanâ€™s well weighted pass found Altidore and the forward did the rest, taking one touch before firing a shot to the near post that had too much venom for Canada goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld. It was goal number 11 for Altidore and assist number 46 for Donovan in their respective national team careers.
The goal was well-deserved and the U.S. continued its first half pressure. Bradley was particularly effective carrying the ball from the midfield and working passing combinations with Dempsey, Altidore and Agudelo. On the right-hand side, the tried and tested combination of Donovan and right back Steve Cherundolo caused all kinds of problems for Canada.
Canadaâ€™s danger man Dwayne DeRosario struggled to impact the game but nearly leveled the score in the 33rd minute. Teed up by Atiba Hutchinson, the New York Red Bull midfielder made a bit of space for himself 30 yards from goal before curling a right-footed effort just wide of an outstretched Howard at the far post.
Defensively the partnership of Ream and Goodson did well to clean up any pressure from Canada, with Howard, Bocanegra and Cherundolo providing veteran guidance to the relatively inexperienced center back pairing.
After the halftime break it was Canada on the front foot, and in the 51st minute Simeon Jackson nearly capped a mazy run with a goal. The Norwich City forward did well to skip by Ream, but the U.S. defender recovered superbly to block the shot before Bocanegra cleared the ensuing cross.
At the other end the U.S. came to life with Donovan and Cherundolo replicating their success in the first half. A one-two freed Cherundolo on the wing before his cross to the far post was nearly turned in by Dempseyâ€™s outrageous â€œscorpion kickâ€ effort. Diving at the left post, Dempsey reached back for the deflected pass with his right leg, getting a foot to it to direct it on frame but a Canadian defender was there to block the attempt.
The U.S. would double its lead with a similar move in the 62nd minute, exploiting open space on the left side of Canadaâ€™s defense. Off a Howard goal kick, Donovan collected the ball from a flick on by Altidore before feeding the forward overlapping down the right.
Altidoreâ€™s well placed ball was touched ever so slightly by Agudelo at the near post before Dempsey arrived late at the far post, where his sliding finish was a combination of perfect timing and pinpoint accuracy. The goal marked Dempseyâ€™s third career strike in the tournament, having now scored in the 2005, 2007 and 2011 Gold Cups.
After the goal the U.S. maintained possession well, but there were late heroics from Howard to ensure the win. Substitute Ali Gerba must have thought he scored when he unleashed a ferocious shot from the corner of the USAâ€™s box, but Howard flew to his right to push the ball away when it seemed destined for the net.
Late in the game a long throw from Canada was flicked on at the near post, before Howard dove at the feet of Jackson and then scrambled to deny Simpson. The ball was only half cleared and when it was lofted back to Gerba, Howard sprang to his right to again deny the effort by the Canada substitute.
-- U.S. Menâ€™s National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Canada
Date: June 7, 2011
Competition: 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Venue: Ford Field â€“ Detroit, Mich.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Scoring Summary:Â Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â Â Â 2Â Â Â Â Â Â F
USAÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â Â 2
CANÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â 0
USA â€“ Jozy Altidore (Landon Donovan)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 15th minute
USA â€“ Clint Dempsey (Juan Agudelo)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 62
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 15-Tim Ream, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.); 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (7-Maurice Edu, 79), 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore (16-Sacha Kljestan, 74), 9-Juan Agudelo (11-Chris Wondolowski, 65)
Subs not used: 5-Oguchi Onyewu,14-Eric Lichaj, 22-Alejandro Bedoya, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
CAN: 1-Lars Hirschfeld, 2-Nik Ledgerwood, 4-Kevin McKenna, 5-Andre Hainault, 7-Terry Dunfield (21-Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault, 82), 8-Will Johnson (10-Ali Gerba, 65), 11-Josh Simpson, 13-Atiba Hutchinson, 14-Dwayne De Rosario (9-Rob Friend, 81), 17-Simeon Jackson, 19-Marcel de Jong
Subs not used: 18-Milan Borjan, 3-Mike Klukowski, 16-Tosaint Ricketts, 20-Jaime Peters
Head Coach: Stephen Hart
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots on goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 8 / 4
Fouls: 13 / 7
Offside: 2 / 4
USA â€“ Michael Bradley (caution)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 51st minute
CAN â€“ Will Johnson (caution)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 52
Referee: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Walter Lopez (GUA)
First Asst:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Second Asst.: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Gerson Lopez (GUA)
Fourth Official:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Trevor Taylor (BRB)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore