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Dirty Tackle

Jozy Altidore equals team record with goal in fourth straight match as USA beat Honduras

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

A 1-0 win against Honduras gives the United States three World Cup qualifier wins in June and makes a trip to Brazil next year almost certain. It was a largely frustrating match for the USA as they had a clear majority of possession (62 percent) and far more chances on goal (13 shots, 5 on target v six and one for Honduras), but the calls weren't going their way and the shots weren't finding the net. Until Jozy Altidore scored in the 73rd minute, giving him a goal in each of the last four games to match the team record.

As intoxicatingly entertaining as the USA's 2-0 win against Panama was, this performance was encouraging in different and just as important ways. Having already climbed to the top of the table, there were many points when complacency could have set in and had a destructive effect in the match against Honduras, who beat United States 2-1 in February. But they didn't let the frustration of failed scoring chances and missed handball calls break down their confidence and drive. They kept trying, kept working and kept their focus and eventually Graham Zusi to Fabian Johnson to Jozy Altidore resulted in a wonderfully executed winner to go with a second consecutive clean sheet.

The USA now sit five points ahead of Costa Rica (who have a game in hand) and Mexico (who don't) with four matches left to play, resuming in September. Even after they do seal their qualification, there will still be work to be done. Continuing to improve the chemistry and reduce the mistakes of the backline, maybe reintroducing Landon Donovan back into the team and just generally preparing for much better competition. For now, they can sip a caipirinha and feel confident that they've put themselves in an ideal situation.

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