Jozy Altidore scored in a 1-0 victory over Panama to seal top spot in the group for the United States at the Gold Cup in Kansas City, Kansas, on Wednesday.
Gregg Berhalter fielded a rotated side, including a start for Altidore for the first time since October 2017 and giving Omar Gonzalez the captain’s armband, with the U.S. needing only a draw to top Group D over Panama.
Altidore had two good first-half chances, but fired wide on one and shot tamely at Panama keeper Jose Calderon on the other as the teams went to half-time tied 0-0.
With the U.S. continuing to struggle to create quality chances in the second half, Berhalter brought Christian Pulisic off the bench right before the 65th minute to try to spark the attack.
Seconds later, the U.S. took the lead when a header back across the goal mouth following a corner kick and Altidore finished from close with a nice overhead kick to give the Americans a 1-0 lead they saw out for the three points.
The tally was Altidore’s 43rd for his country, which ranks third for the U.S. behind the 57 of Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.
The U.S., which won all three of its group games without conceding a goal, will now play surprising Curacao in the quarterfinals Sunday, while Panama takes on Group C winner Jamaica on the same day.