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USA 1, Canada 0 | International Friendly Match Recap

Jozy Altidore’s year is off to a scorching start, and with it the US national team have two wins in their first two matches of 2016 after the Toronto FC striker’s late header gave the Yanks a 1-0 win Friday night over Canada in a friendly at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

It was Altidore’s second goal in as many games, following his strike to open the scoring for the US in their 3-2 victory Sunday over Iceland. He has four goals in his last three outings dating back to his brace in a 6-1 World Cup qualifying victory over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in November of last year, sending the US into their upcoming qualifier home-and-away series with Guatemala (March 25 and 29) with their first winning streak since the Gold Cup in July 2015.  

It was far from the action-packed showcase from the USMNT’s first outing of their now-completed January camp. The Canadians’ conservative approach in their first match of 2016 made for a cagey affair as US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann juggled his lineup, going with a more experienced group – minus debutant San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham.

Canada also debuted a goalkeeper, giving Montreal Impact youngster Maxime Crepeau his first national-team start, along with former Philadelphia Union defender Steven Vitoria in central defense.

The US controlled the pace from the outset, but despite seven shots before halftime (three on goal), Canada’s press was effective in limiting the danger.

The Yanks’ best chances before halftime came when Altidore nearly opened the scoring in the 17th minute, firing off the post. Gyasi Zardes and Jordan Morris combined in the box at the 21st-minute mark. But Morris’ flick to Zardes on the back post resulted in a tough angle and shot out of bounds.

Michael Bradley then teed up a left-footed shot from distance in the 39th minute, but Froese was in the right spot and dealt with it nicely.

The US continued to push in the second half with marginal results. In the 66th minute, Altidore went up between two defenders to meet a cross from second-half substitute Jerome Kiesewetter, in a harbinger of things to come, but couldn’t put his header on frame.

The US outshot Canada 16-6 for the match, and the Yanks finally got just due in the 89th minute when Altidore again rose between two defenders in front of goal to head home a perfect cross from second-half substitute Ethan Finlay on the left flank.

Vitoria had a chance to equalize in stoppage time, but his shot from the center of the box on a cross from Kyle Bekker sailed high. Canada finished with no shots on goal. It spoiled a solid defensive effort from the Canadians in their only warm up before facing Mexico in two World Cup qualifiers (March 25 and 29). 

The US are now unbeaten in their last 17 matches against Canada.

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