SANDY -- With the attention of the American soccer world trained squarely on Utah, the sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium did its job.
And members of the United States Men's National Soccer Team did theirs.
Forward Jozy Altidore, who is rapidly becoming Team USA's go-to offensive player, scored in the 73rd minute lifting the United States to a well-fought 1-0 victory over Honduras in front of 20,250 fans.
It's the fourth consecutive match in which Altidore has scored for the American side - and third straight in World Cup qualification - matching him for the longest streak of consecutive matches with a goal scored in United States national team history.
"The team more and more understands that it's not only a physical grind you go into these games, but it's a mental one," U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann said. "We're getting stronger, we're getting tougher, we're now prepared to go through those games."
The result puts the U.S. on the cusp of World Cup qualification, with the Red, White and Blue moving to 4-1-1 and 13 points. That puts them not only at the top of the Hexagonal, but moves them six points clear of Honduras, with a plus-five goal differential.
As expected, the opening half of the match was a physical, and at times grueling, battle between the two teams. Just seven total shots, including one each on frame, were recorded as neither side gave the other much breathing room.
All that changed in the second half for the United States, as the attack suddenly brought further urgency, repeatedly breaking down the Honduras defense to create opportunities.
Altidore appeared to have knocked in the go-head goal in the 57th minute, when he latched onto a through ball from strike partner Clint Dempsey and angled it into the back of the net, but the assistant referee's flag came up to negate the score.
"It's been exactly what we expected, a very difficult game because we expected them to play very defensively," Klinsmann said. "We found ways, we told them at halftime to keep pushing to raise the tempo even more, to find Jozy and find Clint, to find those little gaps they leave open and a good team finds ways to score."
The U.S. had another fantastic opportunity in the 69th minute when midfielder Graham Zusi flipped the ball into the center of the box and Dempsey smashed forward a diving header that was unfortunate to sail directly to Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Just three minutes later, the American's forward pressure finally paid off after defender Fabian Johnson drove to the endline and cross the ball back toward center, where Altidore latched onto it and edged it inside the far post, setting off a roaring celebration by the crowd at Rio Tinto.
"We are very happy for Jozy," Klinsmann said. "We always told him from a coaching perspective that it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of adjustment, it takes the right moment to be there, it takes the hunger. The energy he has put in the last four or five games has been tremendous. It's not only that he scored those goals, the work he does for the team is awesome."