Tim Howard sets record in USMNT win over Azerbaijan

SAN FRANCISCO (Via U.S. Soccer) – Second-half substitutes Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson each scored a goal and the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 as 24,688 spectators took in USA-Azerbaijan, powered by Yingli Solar, at Candlestick Park.

USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, who wore the captain’s armband, also tied Kasey Keller’s record of 53 career U.S. MNT victories and posted his 35th career shutout.

It was the USA’s first match of a three-game Send-Off Series.

U.S. MNT captain Clint Dempsey was out of the starting lineup because of groin soreness, and USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann held him out purely for precautionary reasons.

Goal Scoring Rundown: USA – Mix Diskerud (unassisted), 75th minute: Brad Davis delivered a free kick from the left side and Azerbaijan’s Ilkin Girtimov headed the ball up, but not out of danger. Michael Bradley shot from near the edge of the box and Azerbaijan defender Elvin Yunuszade alertly made a left-footed stop on the goal line. The ball ricocheted to Mix Diskerud, who had entered the match just four minutes earlier, and he slotted it into the right side of the net for the goal. It was Diskerud’s third career tally and first of 2014. USA 1, AZE 0 (SEE GOAL)

strong>USA – Aron Johannsson (Brad Davis), 81st minute: From the right side, Brad Davis crossed his left-footed corner kick to the edge of the six-yard box, and an unmarked Aron Johannsson promptly headed the ball into the upper right corner of the frame. It was Johannsson’s first goal of 2014 and second of his young U.S. MNT career.    USA 2, AZE 0 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops: AZE – Kamran Aghayev, 4th minute: Off of a Graham Zusi free kick on the far right side, Chris Wondolowski had an open, lunging header attempt from just outside the six-yard box. The ball bounced once and Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Aghayev deflected the ball away with his left knee.

USA – Tim Howard, 7th minute: The U.S. defense gave up the ball outside the box that opened the door for Vagif Javadov. His bending shot went around center back Geoff Cameron, but Tim Howard was alert to deflect the ball away for an Azerbaijan corner kick.

AZE – Kamran Aghayev, 15th minute: In another set piece scoring chance for the U.S., Graham Zusi played his corner kick from the right side to Chris Wondolowski. From eight yards out, Wondolowski’s snap header was bound for the upper left side of the frame. But Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Aghayev stretched with his right arm to parry the shot over the crossbar.

Milestone Watch:

  • U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard tied Kasey Keller’s record of 53 victories, and Howard is now 53-28-15 since debuting for the U.S. MNT in 2002. Keller was 53-27-18 during his tenure from 1990-2007.
  • Howard is two appearances away from reaching the 100-cap milestone. He now has 98 career appearances as he looks to become the 15th U.S. MNT player to reach the century mark.
  • With Tuesday’s victory, Jurgen Klinsmann (29-11-8) is now one win away from matching Bora Milutinovic’s career wins total (30) for third on the all-time list. Ahead of them are Bruce Arena (71) and 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Bob Bradley (43).
  • DaMarcus Beasley, who is looking to become just the third USA player to appear in four World Cups, earned his 115th career international cap and his first of 2014. He is fifth on the all-time caps list.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT faces Turkey in the second game of the Send-Off Series at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 1, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.