Much of the build up to the game was focused on the absence of Landon Donovan from the national team’s final 23-man squad, but it was time for the nation to look at who did make the team when they faced Azerbaijan on Tuesday night.
Clint Dempsey was set to start the game up front, alongside Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, but missed out just minutes before kick-off with a groin injury, and Chris Wondolowski started in his place.
The former-Fulham and Spurs man is the captain, and leader of the side, and his absence sent the nation into a brief spout of panic.
Though Dempsey said after the game that it was merely a “precautionary” withdrawal and that he will be ready for the next game against Turkey on Sunday.
“I am just a little tight, just being precautionary, just being smart, [My groin] felt tight and I didn’t think it made sense to push it in this game. I’ll be ready for the next game. It’s all good.”
Dempsey had to watch on as his side struggled to break down Azerbaijan for much of the first-half, but they came out firing in the second-half hungry for goals, inspired by substitutes.
Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson scored the goals to ensure that the USA got their World Cup preparations off to a good start.
Diskerud was wearing the No. 10 shirt, usually worn by Landon Donovan, and made sure that the it remained on the scoresheet, as he fired in following a blocked Michael Bradley effort.
Johannsson added a second goal ten minutes later, placing a free-header into the net from a Brad Davis corner.
The USA got what they needed in the win, but will face more difficult opposition when they play Turkey on Sunday, and will be desperately hoping that Dempsey is fit to play.