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Altidore scores fourth goal in four games in U.S. victory

Altidore scores fourth goal in four games in U.S. victory
KTSM
Sports
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 3:13pm

Jozy Altidore scored his fourth goal in four straight matches this evening when he tallied the game-winner for the U.S. Men's National Team in a 1-0 victory against Honduras in the Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying at Rio Tinto Stadium.  Former Mayfield Trojan Edgar Castillo entered the game in the 87th minute as a defender, subsituting in for Eddie Johnson.

The 71st-minute goal started when midfielder Graham Zusi slipped the ball along the left edge of the penalty box for Fabian Johnson and he smartly pulled the ball back to Altidore who finished with an impressive first-time left-footed strike into the lower right corner.

The goal put Altidore in elite company as he became just the sixth player to score in four straight games, joining William Looby, Eric Wynalda, Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan (twice).

With the third straight victory in World Cup Qualifying, the U.S. sits in command of first place in the Hexagonal with 13 points and increased its consecutive unbeaten streak for home qualifiers to 25 games (23-0-2) since 2001.

"First and foremost, a huge compliment to the team," said U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "It's been exactly what we expected. It was a difficult game. We expected them to play very defensively, to be nine or 10 guys behind the ball to make all the spaces really tight. It was difficult to play through their wall, basically, but we found ways and we told them at halftime to keep pushing, to raise a little bit the tempo even more, to find Jozy more, to find Clint [Dempsey] more, to find those little gaps that they were leaving open.

"A good team finds ways to score and that's what they did. They scored and they deserve a huge compliment. In a game like this, what really matters is that you keep going and be patient and find the goal."

The U.S. Men's National Team will gather beginning July 1 in San Diego in preparation for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Klinsmann's team has been drawn into Group C of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup along with Belize, Cuba and Costa Rica.

The U.S. will face CONCACAF rival Guatemala on July 5 in San Diego in the team's only tune-up before the start of the 2013 Gold Cup (TICKETS).

Kickoff at Qualcomm Stadium is set for 8 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network and UniMas. Fans can follow live ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.

Honduras had one of their few opportunities just before stoppage time at the end of the first half, when former MLS rookie of the year Andy Najar streaked down the right side of the field. Najar had a clear opportunity on goal, but Tim Howard stood his ground and punched the ball clear for the save.

The U.S. turned up the heat in the second half and had a great chance off a free kick in the 56th minute. Zusi swung in a picture-perfect service from the right side and Brad Evans headed the ball on target from six yards out, but Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares was in position for the reaction save.

In the 63rd minute, Zusi, who returned after serving a one-game suspension for accumulation of yellow cards, again caused problems for the Honduras defense when he took the ball deep down the left side and hit a cross that ricocheted off the goal post and the goalkeeper's hand. After a scramble for the ball inside the box, Clint Dempsey's header hit the arm of Honduras defender Wilson Palacios but the referee didn't blow the whistle for the deserved penalty kick.

Additional Notes
• Clint Dempsey now has 99 caps, one shy of becoming the 14th player in MNT to make 100 appearances.
• The attendance of 20,250 is a sellout and the largest crowd for a Men's National Team game at Rio Tinto Stadium.
• Jermaine Jones (concussion) and Graham Zusi (suspension) returned to the starting lineup after missing the match against Panama.
• Jones earned a yellow card in the 10th minute. Overall, the U.S. has 10 players now carrying yellow cards into their upcoming World Cup Qualifying match against Costa Rica on Sept. 6 in San Jose. The other nine players are: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Tim Howard and Fabian Johnson.
• The U.S. is now 5-2-1 all-time against Honduras.
• The U.S. is now 2-0-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium, and 3-0-0 overall in the state of Utah.
• The U.S. will open group play of the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Belize on July 9 at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore., before returning to Salt Lake City to face Cuba at Rio Tinto Stadium in their second group match on July 13. The United States finishes the group in Hartford, Conn., against Costa Rica on July 16 at Rentschler Field.
• The U.S. will be seeking to capture its fifth Gold Cup title. The winner of this tournament will qualify for a playoff against the 2015 winner for the right to compete in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
 

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