A second-half brace from stand-in captain Jozy Altidore saw United States return to action with a 2-1 win over Peru in Washington DC.
In their first match since being dumped from the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the semi-finals, Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA had to come from behind after half-time, with Altidore striking in the 60th and 68th minutes to secure victory at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
Altidore’s first came from a penalty he earned himself, with the Toronto FC striker seeing his spot-kick saved but he reacted quickly to turn the rebound into the net.
The 25-year-old’s nous in the box was also critical to the winning goal, as he got on the end of Gyasi Zardes’ deflected shot to finish off a goalmouth scramble.
USA had the better of the opening minutes in Washington but it was Peru that struck first, with Daniel Chavez turning in a pocket of space in front of the home side’s defence and unleashing a shot that looped off Omar Gonzalez, over goalkeeper Brad Guzan and into the net.
Half-chances continued to present themselves for Klinsmann’s men but it was not until the 38th minute that Pedro Gallese was forced into his first save, with Jermaine Jones surging from midfield and shooting from 25 yards with Peru’s goalkeeper tipping the ball over the bar.
The resultant corner fell at the feet of John Brooks but his effort was too high.
USA had lost their past two matches – 2-1 to Jamaica and on penalties against Panama in the third-place play-off at the Gold Cup – but took a step towards avoiding a third consecutive defeat when Altidore won a penalty in the 58th minute.
A long throw into the box found Altidore, who cleverly flicked the ball over his opponent before being dragged back.
The striker, standing in for regular captain Michael Bradley, volleyed Gallese’s initial save into the net.
Peru almost regained the lead in the 67th minute with Guzan impressively parrying Chavez’s header from a free-kick and smothering Edison Flores’ follow-up effort with his legs, while USA made the visitors pay a minute later with Altidore tapping home the winner.