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USMNT defeats Peru 2-1

The U.S. defeated Peru 2-1 behind two goals from Jozy Altidore.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It wasn't always pretty, but the United States Men's National Team managed to defeat Peru 2-1 in an important tune-up before the Confederations Cup Playoff against Mexico.

The U.S. came flying out of the gate. For the first 10 minutes, the team was moving the ball exceptionally well and attacking with great pace.

In the 6th minute, Gyasi Zardes created the USMNT's first real chance sending a dangerous, low-driven cross into the box. Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese just managed to push the ball away from danger.

After the 10th minute, the U.S. started to ease up on the pressure. Both teams began to struggle to maintain possession and there were lots of turnovers in the midfield.

Peru broke through in the 20th minute with a rather lucky goal. Daniel Chavez launched a shot from the top of the 18-yard box and the ball took a wicked deflection off of Omar Gonzalez and looped over Brad Guzan and into the net.

After the opening goal, Peru finally started to gain some meaningful possession and began to outplay the U.S. Despite having the better of the play, Peru struggled to create genuine scoring opportunities.

The U.S. was dominated by Peru after the Peruvians' goal, until the 38th minute. In that minute Jermaine Jones blasted the ball from 20 yards out forcing Gallese to make a great save. Gallese narrowly managed to tip the ball over the bar.

From the ensuing corner, the ball came to Jozy Altidore who headed it to John Anthony Brooks. The Peruvian keeper moved early, yet Brooks inexplicably skied the ball over the net from six yards out.

The chances kept coming for the U.S.: minutes later, Altidore intercepted a weak back pass and pushed the ball around the 'keeper to the endline. Altidore was forced to cross the ball due to his horrible angle and with no other U.S. attackers in the box his cross was easily cleared by the defender.

Unfortunately for USMNT, it failed to convert on the many chances it had just before the half and the team went into the locker room down 1-0.

Jurgen Klinsmann decided to make three changes at the half with Mix Diskerud, Ventura Alvarado and Geoff Cameron coming on for Alejandro Bedoya, Omar Gonzalez and Michael Orozco.

Four minutes into the second half, Brooks received the first yellow card of the match due to a late tackle that slowed down a developing attack at midfield.

The U.S. was presented with a golden opportunity in the 59th minute and capitalized. Jozy Altidore controlled a long throw in the box and had his leg clipped by Carlos Zambrano. Penalty. Altidore stepped up and sent his spot kick to the right - only for Gallese to tip it away from the net. Altidore buried the resulting rebound to tie the match.

In the 64th minute, Peru brought on Paolo Hurtado for Andre Carrillo. One minute later Josepmir Ballon was replaced by Edison Flores.

In the 68th minute, the USMNT found the game winner after a chaotic few moments in the Peruvian penalty area. DeAndre Yedlin was on the right flank and attempted to cut the ball back to the top of the box for Altidore, however a Peruvian defender deflected Yedlin's pass.

The deflected pass fell to Zardes on the left who fired a shot that then deflected off of another Peruvian defender. That deflection carried the ball to the back post allowing Jozy Altidore to score with a simple tap-in.

Seconds after Altidore's goal, Peru was awarded a free kick on the right side of the field about five yards outside the eighteen. A great ball was played into the box leading to a header that looked destined for the bottom corner, but Brad Guzan made an excellent diving save preserve the lead.

Guzan's save sent the ball right to a Peruvian attacker who fired the ball from point-blank range only for Guzan to make another great save.

In the 72nd minute, Peruvian coach Ricardo Gareca sent Yoshmar Yotun into the match in place of Carlos Lobaton. In the 82nd minute, with time running out Peruvian goalscorer Daniel Chavez was replaced by Renato Tapia.

Jozy Altidore was booked in the 85th minute for an unnecessary foul. Peru poured on the pressure in stoppage time and created two excellent chances.

In the 91st minute, Carlos Ascues sent a shot from about 20 yards out barely over the crossbar. In the 95th minute, Geoff Cameron cleared a great cross that was intended for a forward at the back post.

Finally, in the 96th minute the referee blew the whistle and the U.S. could celebrate its victory. The U.S. had a decent performance, especially considering the regular starters it missed, although Jurgen Klinsmann surely knows the squad will need to improve quickly.

3 Thoughts

Guess Who's Back, Jozy's Back

Klinsmann's decision to name Jozy Altidore captain for this match seemed questionable, but Jozy justified the decision by scoring both of the team's goals. Almost any time a striker scores two in a match they've had a good day.

Jozy didn't do anything incredible. He scored a penalty and a simple tap-in, but as long as he is scoring he deserves praise. His form had certainly been poor the past few months and his Gold Cup performance led to many suggesting that he should be dropped from the squad.

With two goals tonight and two goals in his last two MLS matches Jozy looks like he has regained his form. Despite his flaws, Altidore deserves to start against Mexcio in the Confederations Cup Playoff.

The USMNT Needs Bradley and Dempsey

I hate to state the obvious, but this team sorely missed Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. Obviously any team that is missing two of its best offensive players will struggle to create chances, but the USMNT still shouldn't have struggled to create chances as much as it did.

While the U.S. had five shots on target only two of these shots (other than the penalty) were truly dangerous. The lack of a creative attacking center midfielder was noticeable and the team will need Bradley and Dempsey back if it hopes to defeat Mexico.

Guzan's Should Be the #1 (At least for Now)

Jurgen Klinsmann made it very clear that Brad Guzan will start for the foreseeable future. While I feel Howard deserved some playing time in this match, in order to try and reclaim his former starting job, Brad Guzan was excellent.

Guzan's double save in the 67th minute was world class and he was in no way at fault for Peru's lone goal. Guzan deserves to be the starter at this moment in time and if he continues to play this well Howard may never reclaim his starting job. The USMNT will need Guzan's good form to carry over to the Mexico match in October.