On Tuesday, the United States started off their preparations for the World Cup positively with an easy win over Azerbaijan, in a friendly match played at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
Juergen Klinsmann, the head coach of the United States team, suffered a blow just before the play started when his team’s captain and forward Clint Dempsey was called back with a ‘sore groin’. Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes striker, replaced him alongside Jozy Altidore in attack.
Speaking to ESPN, Klinsmann said that Dempsey will recover from his injury soon, and also that keeping the striker out of the game was mere a preventive measure.
However, Wondolowski turned up as a talented replacement. He nearly scored a goal for his team within five minutes of his joining, with his impressive header from a free kick by Graham Zusi, but unluckily his effort did not pay off and the ball went straight to the goal keeper of Azeri, Kamran Agayev.
Berti Vogts, the coach of Azerbaijan, went close just after when a curling free kick by Mahir Shukurov hit the side netting. He will join the United States team as a ‘special advisor’ for the World Cup.
Wondolowski again showed how talented he is when he met a cross by Alejandro Bedoya with a solid header, but yet again did not succeed and Agayev did well to over turn it as the teams went into the half time without scoring a goal.
In the first half, the United States team was finding it difficult to go through the defenses of a well organized Azeri team, however, the substitutions made by Americans in the second half payed off for them and was the difference between the two sides at the end of the game.
Just after a drive by Michael Bradley was cleared off the line, Mix Diskerud jumped to drive home from a closer range in the 75th minute.
Eight minutes later, two substitutes collaborated with each other to score a second goal, when a corner by Brad Davis was headed home by Aron Johannsson.
The United States will face Nigeria and Turkey before moving to Brazil. They are placed in Group G against Portugal, Germany and Ghana.