Final, 2-1 United States: It’s over in Jacksonville, Fla. The United States downs the Super Eagles in its final game before the World Cup.
Team USA delivered its finest performance of the three-game “Send-Off Series” against Nigeria. The United States attacked and defended as a team throughout and were rewarded for their cohesion with a victory. Altidore, the spearhead of the attack, repaid the faith Klinsmann and his teammates have in him by scoring two goals in an outstanding all-around performance. While the late penalty kick was a blot on the scoreline, it shows that the U.S. has yet to perform flawlessly, which should motivate the team to continue growing over the next week and beyond.
Nigeria was a strong opponent, but not so powerful that it would overrun the U.S., sapping confidence from the team at the worst possible moment. The Super Eagles demonstrated their individual talent at times, but they must improve their focus and fitness levels before the tournament begins.
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90th minute, 2-1 United States: There will be three minutes of stoppage time in the second half.
87th minute, 2-1 United States: Wondolowski comes on for Dempsey, as Klinsmann makes a late change to the U.S. attack.
86th minute, 2-1 United States: Moses slots the penalty kick past Howard to halve the Americans’ lead.
85th minute, 2-0 Nigeria: It’s a penalty kick for the Super Eagles. Besler fouled Moses from behind, and the referee pointed to the spot.
83rd minute, 2-0 United States: After a long stretch in which it looked like it was giving up hope, Nigeria has its best scoring chance of the half.
Emenike took a pass inside the U.S. area, spun and shot, but the reliable Howard was there to make the save in his 100th appearance for the senior national team.
80th minute, 2-0 United States: Gonzalez is coming on for Altidore, who leaves the field to a rousing ovation.
79th minute, 2-0 United States: The U.S. is in flight having scored the second goal. Nigeria has become disjointed, and the Americans are flying into the gaps behind the defense.
75th minute, 2-0 United States: Chandler replaces Beasley on the left side of the U.S. defense.
72nd minute, 2-0 United States: Diskerud replaces Beckerman in the United States’ second change of the game.
68th minute, 2-0 United States: Altidore scores again to give the U.S. a two-goal lead.
Bradley sent Altidore into the Nigeria area with a through ball over the top of the defense. Altidore collected, turned Yobo with a quick move and fired a shot past Enyeama.
65th minute, 1-0 United States: Dempsey could have made it 2-0, but Enyeama makes a good save to deny the U.S. captain.
64th minute, 1-0 United States: Nigeria is making a substitution, as star striker Emmanuel Emenike comes into the game.
60th minute, 1-0 United States: The U.S. is making its first change. Zusi replaces Bedoya.
54th minute, 1-0 United States: The second half has started much like the first did. The teams are intent on attacking, and there is plenty of action in both of their ends of the field. But that final pass often fails to find its intended recipient, and the play breaks down.
46th minute, 1-0 United States: The second half is underway. The U.S. made no substitutions at halftime.
Halftime, 1-0 United States: The first half is over. The U.S. leads by one.
Nigeria had the slight edge in a competitive game before Altidore opened the scoring. The U.S. defended well but lacked quality in its passing until the sequence which led to Altidore’s goal.
The Americans played with the focus and commitment one would expect nine days before its first World Cup game, and Nigeria is offering the kind of opposition Klinsmann hoped it would when the two federations scheduled the game.
43rd minute, 1-0 United States: Nigeria is failing to react to the U.S. goal positively.
The Super Eagles are playing more as individuals, and the U.S. is well set up to repel that approach.
31st minute, 1-0 United States: : Altidore scores for the first time in 2014, and the U.S. takes the lead after a half hour.
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It came off of a quick build-up play, as Jones found Bedoya on the right. Johnson burst into the Nigeria area, took a pass from Bedoya and squared it across the face of goal. Altidore was there to tap it in from a few yards out.
23rd minute, 0-0: After a quick interchange with Dempsey, Bradley surges forward and shoots from distance, causing Enyeama to make a diving save to his right.
22nd minute, 0-0: The first 20 minutes haven’t revealed much we didn’t already know about Team USA.
It is improving defensively — both in shape and in one-on-one situations — but its attack seems to have lost the verve and rhythm it had against Azerbaijan and Turkey. It could be due to the increased level of competition or some other reason.
15th minute, 0-0: The quick start has ebbed, giving way to a more deliberate and tactical game.
The U.S. is doing well to keep its defensive shape in open play, which is making it difficult for Nigeria to find attacking space in its half.
With the ball, the Americans still look to break forward, but Nigeria is matching their speed and containing the U.S. attack with little difficulty.
Sixth minute, 0-0: The game has had a fast, albeit uneventful, start.
The teams are looking to break forward quickly, which has created end-to-end action, but neither team has unlocked their opponents’ defense with a quality pass in the final third.
First minute, 0-0: USA-Nigeria is underway.
Kickoff: It’s hot and humid (83 degrees and 72 percent humidity) in Jacksonville, Fla., which mimics the conditions in which the United States might play in Brazil.
The anthems are playing, and the game will begin in a matter of minutes.
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Pregame: Klinsmann continues to mix things up with his team selection.
The United States will have a new look in the midfield, as Kyle Beckerman starts alongside Jermaine Jones in a defensive midfield position. Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya will play as attacking midfielders.
It remains to be seen if Clint Dempsey will play as a withdrawn forward, wide midfielder or as one of the two attackers.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard is set to make his 100th appearance for the United States.
Nigeria’s starting lineup includes a host of players who are familiar to fans of the Premier League, including the three attackers and midfielder John Obi Mikel, who will look to create chances for them from the center of the field.
5:30 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Tim Howard (1), goalkeeper
DaMarcus Beasley (7), left back
Matt Besler (5), center back
Geoff Cameron (20), center back
Fabian Johnson (23), right back
Jermaine Jones (13), midfielder
Kyle Beckerman (15), midfielder
Michael Bradley (4), midfielder
Alejandro Bedoya (11), midfielder
Clint Dempsey (8), forward
Jozy Altidore (9), striker
Brad Guzan (12), goalkeeper
Nick Rimando (22), goalkeeper
Omar Gonzalez (3), defender
John Anthony Brooks (6), defender
Tim Chandler (21), defender
DeAndre Yedlin (2), defender
Brad Davis (14), midfielder
Graham Zusi (19), midfielder
Mikkel Diskerud (10), midfielder
Julian Green (16), forward
Aaron Johannsson (9), striker
Chris Wondolowski (18), striker
Vincent Enyeama (1), goalkeeper
Juwon Oshaniwa (13), left back
Joseph Yobo (2), center back
Godfrey Oboabona (14), center back
Efe Ambrose (5), right back
Ramon Azeez (15), midfielder
John Obi Mikel (10), midfielder
Ogenyi Onazi (17), midfielder
Victor Moses (11), forward
Peter Odemwingie (8), forward
Shola Ameobi (23), striker
4 p.m. ET: The United States men’s national team’s preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup have led to this point.
The United States faces Nigeria on Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., in its final exhibition game before heading to Brazil.
Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has led the U.S. World Cup team team through three weeks of training camp and two exhibition games so that it will be ready to play Nigeria, Africa’s best team. Nine days from now, the United States will take on Ghana in a must-win opening game of the World Cup.
There were positive aspects of the United States’ performances in recent warm-up games against Azerbaijan and Turkey. The Americans showed attacking zest and personality in both outings, but concerns remain about its defense. The team and its fans are hoping to ease those fears by containing the explosive Super Eagles.
The game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET. Stay right here for all the action from EverBank Field.