Jozy Altidore, left, and Michael Bradley face a formidable first World Cup foe in Ghana, with the game a close call for oddsmakers.
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
By Avi Creditor
June 07, 2014

If there was ever a player who needed a tap-in for an easy goal, it was Jozy Altidore, and the USA striker had that opportunity fall into his lap Saturday night. Then he showed what one step in the right direction could potentially bring.

Altidore scored his first goal for club and country since December 4, 2013, against Nigeria, tapping home a Fabian Johnson cross in the 32nd minute of the USA's 2-1 friendly victory over the Super Eagles at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. He then added a highlight-reel second in the 68th, taking on defender Joseph Yobo and powering a laser by Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to give the U.S. a 2-0 edge.

On Altidore's first, Alejandro Bedoya fed the forward-running right back Johnson down the right channel, deep into the Nigeria box. He picked out Altidore on the doorstep, where the maligned U.S. forward took one touch to put the Americans on top. 

Altidore then upped the degree of difficulty significantly, running onto a chipped ball from Michael Bradley, creating space against Yobo and rifling a right-footed blast home.

Jurgen Klinsmann, Altidore and U.S. teammates and fans will hope that it sparks a similar run to what happened last summer, when Altidore broke a lengthy international goal drought with a volley against Germany and embarked on a U.S.-record five-game scoring streak, which included a hat trick against Bosnia-Herzegovina. One of those goals, a header in a World Cup qualifier in Jamaica, came a year ago to the day of his brace vs. Nigeria and was the second game of his streak. He also scored on this day three years ago in a 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Canada.

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