New England Soccer Today

One Step Closer to Brazil

U.S. defender Fabian Johnson helped set up the game-winner in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Panama. (Photo: Kari Heistad/

U.S. defender Fabian Johnson helped set up the game-winner in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Panama. (Photo: Kari Heistad/

Jozy Altidore scored for the third straight game to spear the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 2-0 win over Panama in Tuesday’s World Cup Qualifier at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash.

Altidore scored in the 35th minute, while Eddie Johnson made it a two-goal gap in the 53rd minute. Tim Howard needed to make only one save to keep Panama off the board.

Attleboro (Mass.) native Geoff Cameron, who was stationed as the starting defensive midfielder for the U.S., had a hand in the buildup to both goals.

The victory put the U.S. atop the Hexagonal table with a 3-1-1 (10 points) mark after Mexico (1-0-5, 8 points) and Costa Rica (2-1-2, 8 points) battled to a scoreless draw at Estadio Azteca earlier in the evening.

The Yanks showed their fangs early when Fabian Johnson snapped a poorly-cleared Brad Evans long throw over the bar only three minutes after the opening whistle.

Michael Bradley nearly cashed in on an opportunity when fired a shot that looked goal bound until it smacked off a startled Clint Dempsey right in front of frame in the 22nd minute.

After knocking on the door for much of the first half, the U.S. finally capitalized when Cameron sparked an attack that saw Bradley take it through the midfield before playing it ahead for an advancing Fabian Johnson. With options in the box, Johnson sent it toward the far post, where Altidore tapped it through in the 35th minute.

The best Panama could manage in terms of a first half response came right before the interval, when Luis Tejada put one past Howard, but was ruled offside.

Cameron exerted his influence once again in the 53rd minute when he played a gorgeous ball ahead to Eddie Johnson. With only one defender to beat, Johnson evaded him, then pulled the trigger before Jaime Penedo reached him to the Panama farther in the distance.

The U.S. uncovered more chances in the final half hour, but a third goal remained elusive.

Altidore ripped a shot from distance that Penedo initially denied, but Dempsey followed up on the rebound and pounded his effort into the turf before it bounced off the bar in the 66th minute.

Dempsey grabbed another opportunity in the 78th minute when he ran onto a ball that Altidore put on a platter, but skipped it just wide of the far post.

DaMarcus Beasley, the crafty veteran left back, came inches of joining the goalscoring crew when collected a pass from Altidore and hit the post in the 80th minute.

The U.S. returns to action at 9pm ET on Jun. 18 when they host Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.

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