Jozy Altidore braces USMNT to 2-1 victory over Peru

Oh, Jozy Altidore…

There may not be a more maddening player pulling on the United States kit these days, and we were reminded of that in the USMNT’s 2-1 win over Peru on Friday night. Actually, the scoreline should read more like, Altidore 2, Peru 0.

However, a bad series of decisions and some real bad luck for USMNT defender Omar Gonzalez led to Peru going up 1-0 in the 20th minute. After stepping back to create space that didn’t need to be created, Gonzalez stepped up and right in the path of a cannon of a shot from Peru, resulting in a nasty deflection that United States goaltender Brad Guzan had no prayer of stopping in the upper-90.

Not all was lost though, and it was the man who gave fans fits this summer that got it all done.

Yes, the man that was sent home after a dreadful and uninspired group stage of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup returned to his starting spot and gave the United States men’s national team a brace upon return.

Nothing like scoring all the goals for your time to remind the manager of your place in the squad. With the brace, Altidore, who captained the side on Friday night, cemented not only his place on the squad for the upcoming match against Mexico in the Rose Bowl, but also cemented his place as a starter too.

This wasn’t a fluke match either, as Peru’s national team took this game seriously with its selection and were coming off a third place finish at Copa America this summer too.

Quality of opponent aside, Altidore didn’t just impress with his ability to poach one goal and earn a penalty and the goal off the rebound. He impressed most with his outright work rate and ability to release on passes dropped in over the top or from wide.

Altidore was equally dangerous with his back to goal as he was attacking a through ball or pass over the top.

Equally telling was just how much stronger the USMNT got when it fed Altidore up top. It started quickly with moves up the wing and playing off of a cutting Altidore in the first half, and turned in to finding him as a target forward in the second half.

It’s no coincidence that once those passes found the way of Altidore’s body and feet this team became very dangerous. Not only did he attract plenty of defensive attention away from teammates, he was able to turn those moments in to opportunities for himself for a change.

It all served as a reminder of the kind of talent that Altidore has always possessed. Now it’s about turning a performance like this in to consistent efforts going forward, otherwise none of what happened on Friday will matter come World Cup qualifying.

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!