Kansas City, Kan. Jozy Altidore scored in the ninth minute off an assist from Michael Bradley, and the United States hung on to beat Guadeloupe, 1-0, on Tuesday night at Livestrong Sporting Park to reach the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.
The U.S. finished second in Group C with six points, and will face Group B winner Jamaica in the quarterfinals in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
The second-place finish broke a string of 10 straight first-place finishes in group play.
The United States needed only a draw to advance after Panama and Canada drew, 1-1, in Tuesday night’s early game. Altidore made that a moot point with his go-ahead drive from 25 yards, his second goal of the tournament.
Guadeloupe, a surprise semifinalist four years ago, went winless in three games.
The United States pressed its attack throughout the match and had several chances to add an insurance goal but was unable to convert any of them.
Clint Dempsey had the best opportunity in the 76th minute, when he wound up alone with a loose ball in front of the goal, but Julien Ictoi took advantage of Dempsey’s momentary hesitation and hooked the ball to goalkeeper Franck Grandel.
The Americans, who started slowly and gave up an early goal in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Panama, nearly saw the same thing happen in the fourth minute Tuesday night.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard failed to control a ball on the goal line, and Landon Donovan’s attempt to clear hit Dempsey and fell straight to Guadeloupe’s Stephane Zubar. His shot from near the penalty spot hit the crossbar.
In the earlier game, Luis Tejada scored in the first minute of stoppage time during a scramble in front of goal, allowing Panama to escape with a 1-1 draw against Canada.
The goal was originally credited to Blas Perez, but CONCACAF changed it midway through the nightcap between the U.S. and Guadeloupe. The result gave Panama seven points in Group C, while Canada was eliminated when Americans won their game.
“Our goal before the start of this tournament was to come out on top of our group,” said Panamanian coach Julio Dely Valdes. “Now that we have done that, our goal is to go as far as possible in the Gold Cup and essentially win the whole thing.”
Dwayne De Rosario converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute for Canada, which would have secured a quarterfinal berth had it been able to hold on for the victory.
Panama, which played back and counterattacked for the first 60 minutes, turned up the pressure late in the match and missed several good chances before finally forcing the draw.
“I don’t think we did a good enough job of keeping the ball and making them work to get it,” Canadian coach Stephen Hart said. “They were throwing numbers forward and we just couldn’t get a hold of the ball for any period of time. Unfortunately, what happened, happened.”