Late Altidore header lifts US past Canada

Published Saturday, February 6, 2016 8:49 AM by William Montero
Late Altidore header lifts US past Canada

Late heroics once again lifted the US Mens National Team to victory this week.  A few days ago it was a Steve Birnbaum header that lifted the Americans past Iceland 3-2. Friday night it was an 89th minute header from Jozy Altidore pushing the squad past Canada 1-0.  The late game acts of brilliance are to be welcomed after a 2015 that saw the team concede late goal after late goal.  Could things be changing for 2016?

In the Americans' last scheduled match before resuming World Cup qualifying at Guatemala on March 25, coach Jurgen Klinsmann largely chose a lineup of veterans in front of 1st cap keeper David Bingham.  After a slow start the US created plenty of chances throughout the match, but could not find the net.  On one Altidore strike in the 1st half the ball came off the post before hitting Canadian keeper Maxime Crepeau in the head and bouncing back off the post and staying out.  

It looked destined for a third straight 0-0 draw against Canada until Altidore intervened at the end.  Substitute Ethan Finlay picked up the ball on the left flank splitting defenders Samuel Adekugbe and Doneil Henry before curling a wonderful ball into the box for Jozy to rise and head home the winner. Jozy Altidore scored his 33rd international goal, moving one behind Eric Wynalda for third on the US career list.  The US has not lost on home soil to Canada since 1957, but the neighbors to the north are clearly improving thanks to their young MLS talents like Tesho Akindele and Cyle Larin.

Jurgen Klinsmann now turns his attention to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala with whom the Americans play a home and home next month.  A pair of good results will see the US secure passage to the final hexagonal round of qualifying for Russia 2016.  Meanwhile, Canada face the daunting task of a home and home against powerful Mexico.