Strong ball possession and forward Jozy Altidore's strike in the 73rd minute lifted the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Honduras on Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and closer to a berth in World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Defender Fabian Johnson found Altidore unmarked in the box, and the young striker just needed a left-footed one-touch to drill home the game winner past goalkeeper Noel Valladares. Altidore scored in his fourth consecutive international match.
The U.S. dominated a rather uninspired Honduras squad for most of the second half. The Americans controlled possession for 62 percent of the match, and took 13 shots with five on goal, compared to Honduras, who took six shots with only one on target.
The victory means the U.S. are on the verge of securing a spot in the next World Cup. Jurgen Klinsmann's squad remained atop the six-team CONCACAF group with their third straight win this month following their scoreless result at Mexico on Mar. 26. The Yanks have 13 points after six games, and have nearly a 99 percent chance of advancing to Brazil 2014.
"The team now understands it's not only a physical grind you put into these games," Klinsmann said. "It's a mental one. Mentally we're getting stronger. We're getting tougher. We are now prepared to go through the games."
Goalkeeper Tim Howard, who conceded a goal in the 89th minute against Jamaica on June 7, has had back-to-back shut outs. Overall, the U.S. have four shut outs in their last six matches.
"Every time we get a clean sheet, we feel like the best players in the world," Howard said. "We've been on a roll. It's good for the young guys in the back. It gets us feeling good about ourselves. Every time we have a good performance, we put in our back pocket and save it."
Up next for the U.S. in World-Cup qualifying is a road match at Costa Rica on Aug. 9. On the same date, Honduras travel to Mexico.