JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jozy Altidore insists his six-month scoreless streak never bothered him.

No sleepless nights. No feelings of frustration. Not even a bit of worry it would stretch into the World Cup.

His coach believes otherwise. Whatever the case, Altidore and the United States won't have to deal with that storyline in Brazil.

Altidore scored two goals to lead the United States over Nigeria 2-1 Saturday night in the Americans' World Cup send-off match.

Altidore tapped in Fabian Johnson's cross in the 31st minute on a play that started with an Alejandro Bedoya run, stopping a 27-match scoreless streak for club and country with his first goal since Dec. 4 for Sunderland against Chelsea.

"To be honest, it makes no difference," Altidore said. "I don't know if it's weird to you, but it's not weird to me. I've played for this team for such a long time that I think it's my responsibility to kind of help the team in other ways, tracking back and just being somebody now that the other guys can look up to. And I take that very serious."

He doubled the lead in the 68th, running onto Michael Bradley's looping 30-yard pass over the defense. Altidore took a touch with each foot as he cut inside of Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo, then beat goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to the near post with a right-footed shot from 12 yards for his 23rd international goal.

"The second goal was world class, no doubt about it," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "You heard the other coaches of the last friendlies, especially the Turkish coach who said, 'This (guy) is a handful.' Hopefully we can keep him as a handful going down to Brazil now."

Klinsmann stopped short of calling Altidore's performance a much-needed boost but said it was "a wonderful message" and gave the player "a big smile at the right time now."

"I think it will give him a lot of confidence," Klinsmann said. "It's always a tough period when you don't score for a striker. And everybody around you let's you know that. You get more and more anxious about the situation. ... You work harder and harder, which he did the last three-and-a-half weeks in camp. ... And then you just wish, you know, that the moment comes and you put it in there and you go start to be your old self again.

"But you've got to go through that working process. That's what I always told him, 'You're not getting it for free. You've got to go and work for it.' He got sharper and sharper, fitter and fitter. We knew that if he gets the chances, he will put one in."

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said of Altidore: "He's shown he can score goals in bunches for us. Jozy is just fantastic. He just shows how he can turn it on. "

The U.S. was undefeated in its send-off series for the first time since it started in 2002, beating the African champions after a 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan and a 2-1 win over Turkey.

Making their seventh straight World Cup appearance, the Americans head to Brazil on Sunday night and open June 16 against Ghana, the team that eliminated them from the last two tournaments. They follow with games against fourth-ranked Portugal and second-ranked Germany.

Howard made his 100th international appearance, becoming the 15th American male to reach the century mark and tying Tony Meola for second-most appearances by a U.S. goalkeeper, two behind Kasey Keller.

Victor Moses converted an 86th-minute penalty kick for Nigeria after he was knocked over in the penalty area by Matt Besler.

A crowd of 52,033 watched an exhibition that began with an 84-degree temperature and 65 percent humidity that should be similar to the climate in Brazil.

  • Nigerian defender Uwa Echiejile is out of the World Cup with an unspecified injury. He was replaced by Ejike Uzoenyi.

    WORLD CUP
    U.S. Group Play schedule
    June 16: vs. Ghana at Natal, Brazil, 2:30 p.m. ESPN
    June 22: vs. Portugal at Manaus, Brazil, 2:30 p.m. ESPN
    June 26: vs. Germany at Recife, Brazil, 8:30 a.m. ESPN