The United States rode two goals by Jozy Altidore to a 2-1 win over Peru in a friendly on Friday night. The American striker scored once from the penalty spot and then again from about a yard out to bring the U.S. back from a one-goal deficit and get them a much-needed boost of confidence after a disastrous Gold Cup.
This was the Americans' first match since that terrible Gold Cup and with the Confederations Cup playoff just a month away, there was pressure on the U.S. to put together a good performance. This match wasn't that, especially not in a dour first half, but things got better as the match went on and the Americans picked up the win so it wasn't a bad day for the U.S.
Altidore had a halfway decent chance in the opening minutes, but he could't quite latch onto a cross at the back post so it went for nothing. Besides that opportunity, the U.S. didn't do much of anything in the first 10 minutes despite outplaying the Peruvians.
After the decent start, the U.S. were played off the pitch for the rest of the half. Peru had all of the ball and whenever they gave it up, the Americans would give it back seconds later. The U.S. couldn't generate a chance of any kind and Peru had them pinned back. Finally, Peru broke through when Omar Gonzalez inexplicably backed off Daniel Chavez, allowing the Peruvian to take a shot from 20 yards that deflected up and over Brad Guzan before settling into the back of the net.
The U.S. needed to be miles better in the second half and they were. All of a sudden they could hold onto the ball a bit longer and they even for numbers forward upon occasion. Gyasi Zardes carried over his strong first half performance and was a threat down the left wing, while Altidore got more involved. The U.S. still weren't magnificent, but they were better and in the 59th minute, it paid off.
Altidore got to a ball in the box and then turned, putting the Peru defender in a bad spot. There was help coming so the Peruvian wasn't entirely screwed, but he still decided to reach out and grab Altidore anyway. The referee pointed to the spot and while Altidore had his penalty saved, he knocked home the rebound.
Peru bounced back from the goal and nearly went back in front, but Guzan made a brilliant double save to keep the U.S. level and in the 66th minute, the Americans made that great save worth it.
The U.S. broke on the counter with Altidore feeding DeAndre Yedlin on the right. His cross found its way to Zardes, whose shot deflected off a defender then sat on the goal line for Altidore to tap in. With that, the U.S. was ahead and on their way to victory.
Next up for the U.S. will be a trip to Gillette Stadium where they will take on Brazil in their final friendly before the Confederations Cup playoff.