CARSON, Calif. (AP) _ With only minutes to spare, Jozy Altidore made sure the United States left its year-opening training camp with an encouraging result.
Altidore scored on a header in the 89th minute, and the Americans beat Canada 1-0 in an exhibition on Friday night.
Altidore converted a long crossing pass from substitute Ethan Finlay on the left flank, splitting defenders Samuel Adekugbe and Doneil Henry for his second goal in two exhibitions at the start of a busy year for the Americans.
After arriving early and working particularly hard in the four-week camp, Altidore is healthy and eager to lead his national team into World Cup qualifiers next month with momentum and confidence.
For the whole team, it gave everybody a lift when we scored,’’ Altidore said. We’ve all put the work in together as a team, as a group, so to end it and celebrate as a group is a huge plus.’’
Altidore scored his 33rd international goal, moving one behind Eric Wynalda for third on the U.S. career list. Finlay earned an assist in his second U.S. appearance.
Goalkeeper David Bingham had a shutout in his U.S. debut, and the Americans followed up their 3-2 victory over Iceland in last Sunday’s opener by largely dominating play with little reward in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd of 9,274.
This is why we have this camp _ to get sharp,’’ Altidore said. I didn’t think we were sharp enough in front of goal, myself included. We’ve got to work on that, each individual when they go back to their club, but I thought we deserved to win the game. I thought we were the better team throughout, and to end the camp on a high note is good.’’
In the Americans’ last scheduled match before resuming World Cup qualifying at Guatemala on March 25, coach Jurgen Klinsmann largely chose a lineup of veterans in front of Bingham. The Americans had numerous strong chances before Altidore finally broke through, but goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made several outstanding stops for Canada.
I think they got rewarded tonight with that late goal,’’ Klinsmann said. They more than deserved that result, that win. There was only one team playing, and it was us. Canada, the first 20-25 minutes, was all right. They tried to open up the game, and then it was just us doing all the work.’’
The U.S. hasn’t lost at home to Canada since July 6, 1957, going 9-0-9.
Klinsmann split his camp roster between veterans and nine regulars from the under-23 team. On the same days the senior team plays Guatemala, the youngsters face Colombia in a two-leg playoff for the final spot in the Rio Olympics men’s soccer tournament.
With the European-based Americans and other MLS veterans allowed to stay home from a game not on a FIFA fixture date, several youngsters capitalized on the opportunities.
Bingham, a Bay Area native and San Jose Earthquakes regular, became the seventh goalkeeper to play for Klinsmann since February 2015. Stanford defender Brandon Vincent made his first appearance as a substitute at the start of the second half, becoming the sixth U.S. player to make his debut this year.
The U.S. attack applied pressure early and often. Altidore got off an early shot that ricocheted off the post twice while Crepeau barely saved it, and Steven Birnbaum’s point-blank header was stopped in the 25th minute.
Jordan Morris, starting up front with Altidore, attempted to loft an arching shot over Crepeau after a similarly high pass from Altidore later in the first half. The Seattle Sounders’ new signee couldn’t find the goal.
Altidore barely missed the net with a curling free kick in the 81st minute, and Crepeau barely recovered two minutes later when Altidore chipped another chance over his head.
We felt like we were always there and on the doorstep,’’ Altidore said. That bit of sharpness wasn’t there _ the last pass, the last cross.’’