New England Soccer Today

Just Enough

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It was hardly the dominating score line one would expect from the United States Men’s National Team against such an overmatched opponent, but Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Guadeloupe in the final CONCACAF Gold Cup group C match was enough for the U.S. to advance to the quarterfinals. Jozy Altidore gave the U.S. a ninth minute lead and then the U.S. squandered chance after chance to increase the their margin of victory before settling for the one-goal win.

Jozy Altidore's 9th minute goal sent the U.S. to the Gold Cup quarterfinals. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

The U.S., who finished second in Group C with 6 points (2-1-0), will now face Jamaica at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Sunday in the quarterfinals.

After a disappointing 2-1 loss to Panama on Saturday, U.S. head coach Bob Bradley made two changes to the U.S. line-up. Center back Tim Ream and striker Juan Agudelo were both dropped from the line-up after poor performances. Captain Carlos Bocanegra was moved from left back to the center in place of Ream and Eric Lichaj was inserted into the line-up on the left. Chris Wondolowski got his first start of the competition in place of Agudelo.

Altidore put the U.S in the lead in just the 9th minute after taking a pass from Michael Bradley about 25 yards from goal. Altidore took a step before sending a fantastic strike towards the upper corner that left goalkeeper Franck Grandel with no chance.

The U.S. had gotten off to a poor start and Guadeloupe came close to taking the lead in just the fourth minute. A mishandled corner kick was poorly cleared by Landon Donovan and deflected off Clint Dempsey to Guadeloupe’s Stephane Zubar near the penalty spot. Zubar blasted a shot towards goal that was only denied by the crossbar.

Dempsey threatened first for the U.S. in the 6th minute after earning a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Dempsey stepped up to take the set piece, powering a shot over the all that was targeted for just below the crossbar before Grandel got just enough of a hand on the shot to tip it over.

After taking the lead, the U.S. put together another impressive attack in the 21st minute as Donovan found Lichaj on the left flank. Lichaj pressed forward before sending a pass back to Donovan, who sent a shot that looked targeted for inside the far post before Zubar slid in to block the shot.

Dempsey had a fantastic chance three minutes later when Steve Cherundolo found him open in the six yard box with a cross from the right flank. The former New England Revolution star couldn’t direct his header on frame however.

In the 35th minute it was Dempsey again with another great chance from close range, this time coming off a cross from the left from Michael Bradley. As with his earlier effort, Dempsey’s header was wide of the target.

The U.S. had several chances to score in the 42nd minute, when Altidore played Wondolowski behind the defense. His first effort was denied by a charging Grandel. The ball eventually found its way back to Wondolowski in the box, but his second attempt was stopped by Grandel as well.

Altidoe nearly had a second goal in the 53rd minute after Jermaine Jones played him behind the defense with a long ball from midfield. Altidore dribbled into the box, but the defense recovered and his eventual shot from near the penalty spot was deflected wide by a defender.

Donovan should’ve made it 2-0 in the 57th minute after Jones found him open about seven yards from goal. Somehow Donovan couldn’t keep his shot on frame.

Dempsey had perhaps the best chance of the match in the 76th minute after Altidore got into the box and sent a pass across the face of goal. Dempsey, with an open net to shoot at, got the ball caught up in his feet allowing a defender to get back and steal the ball just a few feet away from the net.

Dempsey had one last chance just before the final whistle, getting the ball from substitute Sacha Kljestan and turning in on goal from about seven yards before firing wide.

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