JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a tough club season, it seemed that every game Jozy Altidore went without scoring increased the pressure on the US national team striker just a little more.
Whether or not that perception was reality, Altidore had a two-goal performance following a string of 28 scoreless matches for club and country in a 2-1 win over Nigeria at EverBank Field on Saturday, the USMNT's final World Cup tune-up.
USMNT Player Ratings: Here's why Jurgen Klinsmann deserves the highest rating in the win vs. Nigeria
Just in time for the trip to Brazil, the US national team portrayed a side ready to make hay at the World Cup in a fairly comprehensive 2-1 victory over Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida.
The prologue's done. Nine days from now, we'll have an idea if Saturday's strong 2-1 win over Nigeria was a harbinger of things to come, or a false positive (negative?) leading to a disappointing Group stage.
Honestly? I'm encouraged.
Let's take a look at some of the high points:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It had been 28 matches since Jozy Altidore last found the back of the net. He returned to form in a big way on Saturday by scoring twice at EverBank Field in the US national team’s 2-1 win over Nigeria in front of an announced crowd of 52,033.
Both goals were a thing of beauty, for different reasons, and bound for the highlight reel as this team heads off to Brazil for its World Cup group opener June 16 in Natal against Ghana.
World Cup: Jurgen Klinsmann to use Nigeria match to test players: "We're still in a working process"
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The US men’s national team may be less than two weeks away from its first World Cup match in Brazil 2014, but the group is seemingly no closer to locking in a starting lineup for their group opener June 16 against Ghana.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Saturday’s match against Nigeria (6 pm ET; ESPN and Univision) should help prepare the US national team for both the weather they’ll be faced with in Brazil and their first World Cup opponent in group play.
The forecast calls for thunderstorms and humid 90-degree weather.
Mexico suffered a second straight loss in their World Cup preparation, falling 1-0 to Portugal in dramatic fashion on Friday at a packed Gillette Stadium. Bruno Alves got the lone goal of the game in the final minute of second-half stoppage time when he was not picked up on a set piece, allowing him to snap a header into the top corner from 12 yards out.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Much has been made of the switch by the US national team to a diamond midfield in recent games. But to the manager, the tactics aren't really the point.
Jurgen Klinsmann is more concerned with how his players support each other on the field than how they’ll operate within the much-discussed diamond formation during the World Cup.