By Mike Woitalla
Nine days before the USA opens its World Cup campaign against Ghana, it delivered one of its most convincing performances of the Jurgen Klinsmann era in a 2-1 win over Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida. Jozy Altidore emphatically ended his scoring drought with both goals. The only blemish on the dominating display came when Americans gave up a penalty-kick goal late in the game.
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 100/0.
Well-positioned on Nigeria’s few first-half shots. In the second half he made a sliding leg save and smothered Emmanuel Emenike’s shot – Nigeria’s best chance until Victor Moses converted the 86th minute penalty kick
7 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), 22/1.
His forays from right back were key to the U.S. attack. He nicely served up Jozy Altidore for the 1-0. Besides that, defensively solid.
5 Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 17/0.
His clumsy challenge on Victor Moses gave Nigeria its penalty kick and goal – ruining an otherwise composed outing.
6 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 27/1.
Won air battles and a broke up a counterattack in the second half with a timely tackle. His pass to Jermaine Jones started the play that led to the 1-0.
6 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX), 116/17.
Back in the running for the starting left back spot after preventing attacks on his flank and creating a few of his own.
6 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 37/1.
Stayed home deep in central midfield in an unspectacular performance -- but he swept in front of the backline and enabled Bradley (and Jones) to focus more on offense.
7 Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/TUR), 42/2.
Paired up with Beckerman in defensive midfield duo. Took pass from Cameron and darted forward to deliver ball to Bedoya on first goal. Broke up a dangerous counter 64th minute. Surged forward a couple times late in the game.
8 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 86/12.
In the first half, had a few bad passes but sparked several counterattacks -- and his long-range 23rd minute shot forced good save. Near perfect in the second half on both sides of the ball. Set up Dempsey for two good chances and served an excellent pass to Altidore for the 2-0.
6 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), 28/1.
Had the second assist on the 1-0. Darted around to receive balls and helped U.S. keep possession. Could have done more when freed on the right wing in the second half.
6 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 105/37.
Neat flick pass set up Bradley’s good first-half shot. Active as usual, though had a great chance saved when he eluded a defender in the 65th minute and mis-trapped Bradley pass in scoring position.
8 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG), 70/23.
Broke scoring drought with first-half tap-in and a rocket shot in second half after taking Bradley’s pass and juking past Joseph Yobo. Moved back often to make himself available during several buildups.
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
4 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), 23/3.
Replaced Bedoya with 30 minutes left. Hit a corner kick out bounds in tepid performance.
4 Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR), 20/3.
Replaced Beckerman with 18 minutes left. Squandered two shots in the penalty kick and misplayed a pass on a third chance.
NR Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg/GER), 13/0.
His 15 minutes were highlighted by a run all the way to the end-line for a late scoring chance.
NR Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), 20/0.
Got 10 minutes of action.
NR Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), 20/9.
Entered in the 87th minute.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)