Juergen Klinsmann suffered a blow shortly before kick-off when
forward Clint Dempsey was withdrawn with a 'sore groin' and San Jose
Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski was brought in as his
replacement alongside Jozy Altidore in attack.
Klinsmann told ESPN that Dempsey should recover from his injury in a
few days and said it was purely a precautionary measure to keep the
striker out of the game.
Wondolowski proved to be an able replacement, however, and almost
opened the scoring inside five minutes with a diving header from a
Graham Zusi free-kick but his effort was straight at Azeri keeper
Azerbaijan, coached by German Berti Vogts who will join Klinsmann's
team as a 'special advisor' for the World Cup, went close soon after
when a Mahir Shukurov's curling free-kick struck the side netting.
Wondolowski's instincts were on display again when he found space to
meet an Alejandro Bedoya cross with a firm header but again Agayev
did well to tip over as the sides went into the break locked at 0-0.
The Americans struggled to break down a well-disciplined Azeri
defence but second half substitutions proved to be the difference.
After a Michael Bradley drive was cleared off the line, Mix Diskerud
pounced to drive home from close range in the 75th minute.
[to top of second column]
Two substitutes then combined for the second, eight minutes later,
when Aron Johannsson headed home a Brad Davis corner.
The U.S will face Turkey and Nigeria before heading to Brazil where
they are up against Ghana, Portugal and Germany in Group G.
(Writing By Simon Evans; Editing by John O'Brien)
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