• Tuesday Jun 18, 2013

    Altidore helps U.S. down Honduras

    SANDY, Utah -- Jozy Altidore scored in his fourth consecutive game and third successive World Cup qualifier to lift the United States to a 1-0 victory over a determined and depleted Honduras side on Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

    The win solidified the Americans' position atop the CONCACAF hexagonal with a 4-1-1 (13 points) as they recorded a perfect nine points from their three June qualifying matches.

    Honduras (2-1-3, 7 pts.) put up a good fight, but could not overcome the absences of defender Maynor Figueroa (injury), defender Victor Bernardez (suspension), midfielder Luis Garrido (suspension) and striker Jerry Bengtson (left team).

    The U.S. had a number of near misses throughout the encounter until Altidore finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute, slotting a left-wing feed from Fabian Johnson past goalkeeper Noel Valladares.

    Altidore became only the fifth U.S. player to score in four consecutive games (including three straight qualifiers), joining Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride and Bill Looby. He started the streak in a friendly win over Germany on June 2 and followed it up in a 2-1 away victory in Jamaica on June 7, a 2-0 home triumph over Panama on June 11 and then against the Catrachos.

    The United States dominated the first half, but the Hondurans held their own as the teams went into the locker room at halftime with a scoreless draw. Another dynamic performance by midfielder Roger Espinoza helped keep the visitors in the game.

    The host attacked just about from the opening whistle. Eddie Johnson came close to netting in just the second minute, heading a Graham Zusi free kick wide right.

    Five minutes later, Clint Dempsey headed a Zusi corner kick wide right as well.

    Johnson had the Americans' best chance of the opening half in the 17th minute as he fired a shot from the top of the penalty area that Valladares saved.

    The Central Americans suffered a tough blow in the 33rd minute, when forward Carlo Costly was forced from the game with a leg injury. Olimpia's Roger Rojas entered the game as a substitute.

    Later, Andy Najar nearly capitalized on a U.S. giveaway, motoring down the right wing before firing an attempt that compelled a two-handed save by goalkeeper Tim Howard.

    Altidore thought he had broken the scoreless tie 14 minutes after the interval, but his goal off some nifty American passing was disallowed for offside..

    The U.S. got even closer to getting on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. Zusi's corner kick was deflected off the crossbar and Dempsey's subsequent header toward the net appeared to hit the hand of Wilson Palacios. There was no call by referee Enrico Wijngaarde as play continued.

    Both sides return to qualifying action on Sept. 6 with the Americans paying a visit to Costa Rica and Honduras traveling to Costa Rica.

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