Jozy Altidore Leads US to 2-0 Victory Over Panama

Jozy Altidore's goal set the tone for the US national team's 2-0 victory over Panama.
Jozy Altidore’s goal set the tone for the US national team’s 2-0 victory over Panama.

The United States men’s national soccer team appears to be in position to make the trip to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014 after a 2-0 victory over Panama on Tuesday. The victory was the third in four games for the Americans and placed them in sole possession of first place in the CONCACAF region with ten points. The top three teams in the group will advance to the World Cup automatically.

With ten points earned, the team has a two point lead over Mexico and Costa Rica. The qualifying process is roughly half way over, so the US is in a prime position to advance to the World Cup as long as they can stay the course.

Staying the course isn’t exactly what this team has been known for under Coach Juergen Klinsmann. During his tenure as the leader of United States Soccer, he has changed the lineup in every single match but one. 28 lineups have taken the field for the Americans in 29 matches. Perhaps with the dominating performance of yesterday he found one that he likes moving forward.

Jozy Altidore lead the way for the US in their 2-0 victory over Panama, taking the lead late in the first half with his goal. Michael Bradely set up the play with a brilliant through ball between defenders to Fabian Johnson in the box. Johnson then crossed the ball across the box to a wide open Jozy Altidore who was able to easily tap it in for the finish. The goal is the third for Altidore in his past three games after an uncharacteristically slow start to the year.

The second goal of the game was scored by Eddie Johnson. Geoff Cameron, who was put in the lineup in favor of Jermaine Jones, had a brilliant game. The icing on the cake for Cameron’s performance was a beautiful pass to set up Johnson perfectly after his beautifully timed run. The goal added to the lead established by Altidore and finished the scoring in the Americans’ 2-0 victory over Panama.

Panama had several chances to get on the board, but was unable to find a way to finish cleanly. In the 22nd minute, Carlos Rodriguez found himself all alone near the left wing of the box, only to trip on a seam in the turf at CenturyField, preventing him from getting off a shot.

In the 45th minute Panama’s Luis Tejada looked to tie the game at one apiece, however he was clearly offside as he beat Keeper Tim Howard and put the ball in the net.

Seattle proved to be a great host, and affirmed its status as one of America’s greatest soccer towns. Spending $80,000 to replace the turf with actual grass for the event in order to host an international soccer match was worth the investment. The attendance was greater than the MLB game next door, and was one of the highest ever in a US national qualifying match. Stadium attendance was thought to be near the 42,000 mark as of yesterday.

Jozy Altidore has burst from his funk in a big way, leading the US to a 2-0 victory over Panama last night and putting the US in position to control its destiny for World Cup Qualifying. The Americans have shaken their slow start and now should be able to make it to Brazil and attempt to better their efforts from 2010, where they lost in the first elimination round.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille

Senior Sports Editor

The Guardian Express

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