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Jozy Altidore delivers top performance for United States vs. Iceland

CARSON, Calif. -- Goals from Jozy Altidore, Michael Orozco and Steve Birnbaum -- who scored in the 90th minute -- gave the U.S. national team a 3-2 friendly win over Iceland in its first match of 2016.

Here's how individual American players fared in the match.

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(Player ratings (1-10; 5=average, 10=best) Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Luis Robles, 6 -- Blameless on both Iceland goals: The first deflected off Michael Orozco, and he didn't get much help from his defenders on the second. Rarely troubled otherwise outside of one timely second-half stop.

DF Brad Evans, 5 -- Made a couple of decent long passes in his 45 minutes of action but had a relatively quiet afternoon before coming off at the half.

DF Michael Orozco, 5.5 -- The Club Tijuana man was involved in both Iceland goals and culpable on the second, getting caught out of position after replacing Evans at right back. But he helped make up for it by scoring the Americans' second.

DF Matt Besler, 5.5 -- Had several chances to clear before Iceland's opener in the 13th minute, but rock-solid otherwise and also contributed to the U.S. cause with good passing out of the back.

DF Kellyn Acosta, 5.5 -- In his first senior appearance, the 20-year-old left back showed some early nerves but calmed down later on and made a couple of good passes, including a cross striker Gyasi Zardes sent just wide.

MF Ethan Finlay, 4.5 -- Showed some expected nerves at times and could have played quicker in other moments. But overall, a decent international debut for the Columbus Crew winger.

MF Michael Bradley, 8 -- It didn't look like the first game of the year for the U.S. captain. Sharp and involved throughout, he made a great final pass on Altidore's pretty first-half strike and picked up a second assist on Birnbaum's late game winner.

MF Jermaine Jones, 6.5 -- Provided his usual steel in the center of the field. Also started play that led to the Americans' opener with a pinpoint long pass out from inside his own half.

MF Lee Nguyen, 7 -- Faded slightly late in first international start, but overall the New England Revolution playmaker absolutely helped his case to become a U.S. regular. He was dangerous on the ball and ought to have had a helper on his inch-perfect, 16th-minute cross to Zardes.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 6 -- Should've converted Nguyen's pretty first-half service but made good runs and was sharp in the attacking buildup -- especially his smart pass to Bradley on the sequence that led to Altidore's goal.

FW Jozy Altidore, 8 -- Showed confidence and composure on his goal by waiting for Iceland keeper Ogmundur Kristinsson to commit before chipping over, and helped set up the Americans' second-half equalizer with a dangerous cross. Battled hard and his touch improved as the match wore on.

Jozy Altidore could not have asked for a better start to his 2016 than the opening goal for the U.S. against Iceland.
Jozy Altidore could not have asked for a better start to his 2016 than the opening goal for the U.S. against Iceland.


DF Steve Birnbaum, 7 -- Failed to step on Aron Sigurdarson's strike moments after entering to start the second half, but more than redeemed himself with a smart headed assist on Orozco's equalizer and then the winning goal in the 90th minute.

MF Darlington Nagbe, 5 -- Replaced Finlay with a half-hour to play, picking up a yellow card 10 minutes later and almost knocking home a Jerome Kiesewetter cross.

MF Tony Tchani, NR -- Made his international debut when he came on for Jones in the 71st minute.

FW Jerome Kiesewetter, NR -- Active in 15 minutes of action in his first cap, sent in a dangerous cross to Nagbe minutes after replacing Zardes, then another moments later.

FW Jordan Morris, NR -- The new Seattle Sounder spelled Altidore, coming on alongside fellow forward Kiesewetter.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.


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