Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore star for United States vs. Canada
CARSON, Calif. -- Jozy Altidore's 89th-minute goal proved to be all the U.S. needed to beat northern neighbors Canada 1-0 in an international friendly.
The U.S created more than enough chances to win the game easily, but a combination of excellent goalkeeping from Canada's Maxime Crepeau and some poor finishing -- Altidore was especially wasteful -- kept the score level until late in the match. Substitute Ethan Finlay served up an inviting cross from the left wing, and Altidore nodded the delivery home for the game's only goal.
Altidore nearly broke the deadlock when his shot in the 17th minute hit the post, caromed off Crepeau and hit the post again before the keeper covered the ball up.
The U.S. raised the tempo after halftime, with Altidore getting four clear looks at goal, before finally finding a breakthrough.
Goalkeeper David Bingham kept a clean sheet on his debut for the U.S.
The U.S. team's next games will be a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala in March.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK David Bingham, 6 -- Earned the shutout on his debut, though he didn't have much to do on the night. Got caught in no-man's land on one early play, and forced matters a bit too much with his distribution early on. Commanded his box well thereafter.
DF Kellyn Acosta, 5.5 -- Gifted an opportunity to Tesho Akindele with one giveaway, but eventually settled down, and prevailed in terms of his one-on-one defending. Taken off at halftime due to a strained left hamstring.
DF Matt Besler, 7 -- Save for one wayward pass in the second half, he smoothed out the rough spots from Sunday's game, and was solid in all respects both in terms of his defending and distribution. Cemented his spot in the lineup for when the games start to matter.
DF Jermaine Jones, 5.5 -- Put out lots of fires in the first 20 minutes. Did get caught on the wrong side of Larin on one play, and was fortunate his tackle was deemed fair. His positional discipline was spotty, however, as he got caught up field more than once.
DF Steve Birnbaum, 6 -- Picked his moments to get forward well, and nearly bagged another goal on a set piece. Defended decently enough, though he came up second best a time or two against Akindele's pace.
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MF Lee Nguyen, 5.5 -- Didn't really build on his performance against Iceland. In the first half Nguyen's passing was precise enough, but it lacked incisiveness. Picked up his game in the second half as he drifted more inside.
MF Mix Diskerud, 6.5 -- Clean with his passing, but at times he waited too long to pull the trigger. He looked more aggressive in the second half, set up Altidore with a chance, and kept the U.S. attack ticking over. Put in the work on the defensive side of the ball as well.
MF Michael Bradley, 7 -- Did plenty to control the midfield against his new club teammate, Will Johnson. Let the U.S. with three chances created.
MF Gyasi Zardes, 4 -- Made some good runs to get in dangerous spots, but struggled for much of the first half, both in terms of his first touch and crossing. Stung the palms of Crepeau with one first half shot, and did find Jordan Morris with a few deliveries, but just not consistent enough.
FW Jordan Morris, 5 -- Another player who struggled with his touch, and while he had some good ideas in terms of combinations, his execution and finishing touch were lacking.
FW Jozy Altidore, 6.5 -- Struggled with his finishing touch for much of the night, but finally converted thanks to Finlay's telling cross. He took his share of abuse, and his delightful chip to Morris should have resulted in an assist. Missed a quartet of wide-open chances in the second half, but stuck to his task and grabbed the game-winner.
DF Brandon Vincent, 6.5 -- Locked down his side well, and looked very much at home in 45 minutes of work after replacing Acosta. Nearly scored a memorable debut goal only to be denied by Crepeau.
MF Jerome Kiesewetter, 5.5 -- Replaced Zardes in the 61st minute. Had one slick dribbling move but couldn't get the cross off.
MF Darlington Nagbe, 6.5 -- Brought an immediate boost to the attack after coming on for Nguyen in the 61st minute with some deft touches and quick passes.
MF Ethan Finlay, 8 -- Wasn't given much time after coming on for Morris in the 88th minute, but provided an inch-perfect cross for Altidore to head home.
MF Wil Trapp, NR -- Came on for Diskerud in the 77th minute and linked up well with his teammates.
MF Perry Kitchen, NR -- Came on for Altidore in stoppage time for a late cameo.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.