With the final whistle that brought the USA’s 2-1 win over Nigeria to a close, World Cup prepaations became history and all eyes turned to Brazil.
The victory gave the U.S. a 3-0 Sendoff Series record, including the 2-0 win over Azerbaijan and the 2-1 win over Turkey.
It is significant that of the three, Nigeria is the only team of the three that is going to the World Cup. Jozy Altidore scored both goals, his first for the U.S. team in 28 games.
It is also significant that the U.S. team got through the preparation games without injuries. A number of teams have lost World Cup players because of recent injuries.
That includes Ghana and Germany, both the Group G with the U.S. Ghana’s young defender Jerry Akaminko is out, as is talented midfielder Marco Reus for Germany.
An Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the top players in the world, has had some nagging injuries that kept him out of a recently friendly with Mexico. He is likely to play in Brazil, but there are questions to be answered.
Far in the rear view mirror for Jurgen Klinsmann are is the brouhaha about the 23-player World Cup roster he selected. Most notably, the drama regarding his omission of Landon Donovan from the squad.
At issue also are the five German-Americans, three of whom had little or no impact on the U.S. qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. All have played in the Sendoff Series games, and Tim Chandler got in all three, starting against Turkey at left back.
Julian Green, the young talent who had only one national team game before selection, has looked like a deer in the headlights against Azerbajian and Turkey. John Brooks had a creditable performance “at times” against Turkey.
A fantastic series of passes down the right side set up Altidore to break the scoreless deadlock in the first half. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya dribbled down the right wing and spied Fabian Johnson making a darting run into the penalty area. He cut a short pass to the overlapping right back who slide a cross on the ground into the six-yard box where Altidore was unmarked for the tap-in. For Altidore, it is his first goal of 2014.