Striker Jozy Altidore scored the first goal and set up the second to help the United States to a 2-0 Group C victory over Canada in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday night.
In the first game of the doubleheader before 28,209 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, Panama held off 10-man Guadeloupe to secure a 3-2 win.
Clint Dempsey gave the Americans some breathing room with a second-half goal and goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was having a relatively quiet match, made two key saves in the waning minutes to preserve his shutout.
The Canadians started with a handicap when veteran midfielder Julian de Guzman did not dress due to an undisclosed injury. His absence gave Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Terry Dunfield the chance to make his Gold Cup for Stephen Hart's side.
At times during the first half, it seemed the USA laid siege to the Canada goal with a number of shots from inside of their box. But the Canadians defended in numbers and always seemed to have a body to block or deflect an American shot.
As it turned out, the USA's first goal went off a Canadian - the hands of goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld - in the 15th minute.
Taking a feed from Landon Donovan, Altidore held off Canada captain and defender Kevin McKenna on the right side of the penalty area and spun to send a blistering right-footed shot that Hirschfeld could not handle for his 11th international goal.
Altidore found himself on the left side of the box in the 23rd minute and tried to make it two, but his shot was considerably weaker and Hirschfeld had an easy time gathering it in.
After taking a Clarence Goodson feed, Altidore tried to become a playmaker in the 27th minute when his pass from the right side of the area found Juan Agudelo, but the 18-year-old New York Red Bulls striker put his shot into the stands.
Dwayne De Rosario had Canada's best scoring opportunity of the first half in the 33rd minute, launching a 25-yard curling attempt that missed the right post.
Agudelo put one on target that Hirschfeld managed to knock out of bounds in the 40th minute.
Canada started the second half with more intensity, but could not create anything dangerous.
The Americans however, certainly did.
Only two minutes after Agudelo almost scored a spectacular goal off his backheel, Dempsey had one of his own. Altidore sent a right-wing cross to the back post, where Dempsey outraced Nik Ledgerwood and volleyed the bouncing ball home for a 2-0 USA advantage in the 62nd minute.
Second-half sub Ali Gerba almost gave Canada some life, as he sent a hard shot just to the left of the American's goal in the 69th minute.
And when Canada did take aim at the USA goal late in the match, Howard made two vital saves within a span of seconds in the 85th minute, as he denied Josh Simpson and then Gerba from point-blank range.
Both teams will now travel to Tampa, Florida, for their second matches in Group C on Saturday, as Canada face Guadeloupe, while the Americans take on Panama.