It took until the 89th minute, but Jozy Altidore's header was enough to give the U.S. Men's National Team a close 1-0 victory over their northern neighbors on a Friday night at the StubHub Center.
Here is the #USMNT's starting lineup for #USAvCAN. pic.twitter.com/H2pNBibL5X— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) February 6, 2016
Head coach Jurgen Klinsman put out the usual 4-4-2, with Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud paired in the midfield, Jermaine Jones at center back, Gyasi Zardes shifted to the right wing and newly minted Seattle Sounder Jordan Morris earning the start up top alongside Jozy Altidore.
Canada's lineup featured seven MLS players including Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin.
The game was a slightly drab affair in the first half as the Americans struggled to break down Canada's defensive formation. Gyasi Zardes found success down the right wing on several occasions, most notably when he slipped Altidore behind Canada's back four and the Toronto FC unleashed a low shot that smashed the near post before deflecting off goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau to safety.
Steve Birnbaum had a real opportunity when he powerfully headed a floating Lee Nyugen corner kick, but the attempt was straight at Crepeau.
The U.S. almost capitalized on some tidy combination play late in the half when Jozy Altidore held the ball on top of the box before lifting a pass right into the path of the onrushing Jordan Morris inside the box. With just the keeper to beat, Morris tried to emulate his forward partner and lift the ball over Crepeau, but the attempt sailed agonizingly close.
The Americans picked up the tempo in the second half, almost scoring on a flurry of chances. In the 54th minute Lee Nyugen ran onto an Altidore touch and played a dangerous cross from the left area that Crepeau struggled to keep out of the net, then on the following sequence another cross successfully located Altidore, who from point-blank range squared a header inches past a sprinting Morris.
In the 66th minute, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter played a beautiful cross that perfectly met a rising Jozy Altidore in the center of the box, but he mistimed his header and the attempt bounced harmlessly wide.
Altidore had a few more cracks at goal including a free kick that barely whistled past the post, but it looked like the game would end scoreless, however substitute Ethan Finley collected the ball on the left touchline and evaded a defender before firing a pacy cross than Altidore rose to meet and powerfully headed home to give the Yanks the victory.