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USA sweep pre-World Cup series with win over Nigeria

With Saturday's 2-1 win over Nigeria, the U.S. Men's National Team swept the three-game World Cup Sendoff series for the first time ever. On June 1, the USA beat Turkey 2-1 and previously shut out Azerbaijan on May 27.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard
Goalkeeper Tim HowardPhoto by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
USA fans loft banner with GK Tim Howard on $100 bill
USA fans loft banner with GK Tim Howard on $100 billPhoto by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Today, with friendly competition completed, the USMNT depart for South America to prepare for its Group G opener against Ghana on June 16 at Estadio Das Dunas in Natal.

Forward Jozy Altidore, who broke a 27-game scoreless streak for the USA and Sunderland, scored a brace versus Nigeria for a crowd of 52,033 on a hot day at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. While the first 31st minute goal was an easy tap-in finishing off a brilliant combination by Fabian Johnson and Alejandro Bedoya, his second in the 68th minute was slammer he collected from Michael Bradley, who also gave an outstanding performance and recorded his 10th assist. Altidore now has 23 international goals and looks to be in good form for World Cup Brazil.

“Nigeria is very similar to Ghana," said Altidore. "If we can emulate this performance against a team pretty similar to Nigeria against Ghana, we can start the group off the right way. We all want to get out of the group. That’s a goal of ours. I think the opportunity is there.”

U.S. defender Matt Besler drew a penalty in the 86th minute and Nigeria's Victor Moses spoiled the shutout by converting for the final 2-1 score.

In front of goalkeeper Tim Howard, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started left back DaMarcus Beasley, right back Johnson and center backs Geoff Cameron and Besler. Defensive mids Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman paired in the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Bedoya, Bradley and Clint Dempsey in front of them with Altidore on top.

In the 60th minute, Klinsmann subbed in Graham Zusi for Bedoya and in the 72nd minute, he brought in Mix Diskerud for Beckerman. Three minutes later, Timmy Chandler replaced Beasley and in the 80th minute, Omar Gonzalez entered for Altidore. Chris Wondolowski was the final sub, replacing Dempsey right after Nigeria's penalty.

With the start, goalkeeper Tim Howard (54-28-15) became the 15th U.S. MNT player to reach 100 caps and also broke Kasey Keller's all-time goalkeeper wins record for the United States.

Read my exclusive interview with Clint Dempsey about the USA's prospects in Brazil and how the World Cup inspired him to greatness as a youth player.

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Scoring Summary:
USA - Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson) 31st minute
USA - Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley) 68
NGA - Victor Moses (penalty kick) 86

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 5-Matt Besler, 20-Geoff Cameron, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Timmy Chandler, 75); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 60), 15-Kyle Beckerman (10-Mix Diskerud, 72), 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley; 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (18-Chris Wondolowski, 87), 17-Jozy Altidore (3-Omar Gonzalez, 80)
Subs Not Used: 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 6-John Brooks, 9-Aron Johannsson, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 16-Julian Green, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

NGA: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 2-Joseph Yobo (capt.), 5-Eric Efe Ambrose, 13-Juwon Oshaniwa, 14-Godfrey Oboabona; 10-John Obi Mikel (4-Ruben Gabriel, 46), 15-Ramon Azeez (25-Michael Uchebo, 74), 17- Ogenyi Onazi; 8-Peter Osaze Odemwingie (18-Michael Babatunde, 46), 11-Victor Moses, 23-Shola Ameobi (9-Emmanuel Emenike, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Elderson Echiejile, 6-Azubuike Emmanuel Egweukwe, 7-Musa Ahmed, 12-Kunle Odunlami, 16-Austine Ejide, 19-Uche Nwofor, 21-Agbim Chigozie, 22-Kenneth Omeruo
Head Coach: Stephen Keshi

Stats Summary: USA / NGA
Shots: 11 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 10
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
4th Official: Andre Mariner (ENG)