Tim Howard only record three official saves in the entire match but boy were they brilliant. USA Soccer fans are used to Howard standing on his head and making great plays to keep his team in the game but so often it's just his wall in front of goal and the occasional counter attacking goal against the run of play.
Against Canada in the opening match of the 2011 Gold Cup, the story was a bit more friendly to the Americans as forwards Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey both found the back on the net and the mid-field dominated the possession in the 2-0 win. The Canadians were supposedly a much improve side and considered one of the top teams in the field but Team USA made them look like Team USA playing a friendly against Spain.
Altidore has taken a lot of heat for his lack of production but he answered the call with an early strike that slipped by Canadian keeper Lars Hirschfeld. Maybe it was a bit of a soft goal, but credit Jozy for getting the shot off quickly and getting into great position to hit the near post just 14 minutes into the match.
Jozy wasn't done either. In the second half he played a beautiful ball across the face of the goal and found a streaking Clint Dempsey on the far post for a sliding strike that easily beat Hirschfeld. That goal came at the 61 minutes mark and ended the scoring for both sides...thanks to Howard who was tested by a fully of activity with about six minutes left in the match.
Next up for Team USA is Panama who beat Guadeloupe 3-2 in Group C play. Here's the remaining schedule for the U.S. soccer team in group play in the 2011 Gold Cup:
Game 2 - Saturday, June 11, 8:00 p.m. ET vs. Panama in Tampa, FL
Game 3 - Tuesday, June 14, 8:00 p.m. ET vs. Guadeloupe in Kansas City, KS
Games will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel with live online streaming available (for a fee) at Foxsoccer.tv. More information on the 2011 Gold Cup is available at the official web site.
Video highlights from USA vs. Canada: