Jozy Altidore scored in the first half and set up Clint Dempsey's goal in the second as the United States opened its Gold Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Canada on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old Altidore put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute and Dempsey scored in the 62nd from a good Altidore cross.

The U.S., which was coming off a 4-0 loss to World Cup champion Spain on Saturday, has never lost a group stage game at the Gold Cup.

''Coming off the game against Spain, obviously, you got down a little bit,'' Altidore said. ''Now, we've just got to build on it, because it's only going to get harder from here.''

The U.S. pressured Canada from the start. Altidore scored after running onto a long pass from Landon Donovan. Although Kevin McKenna was back to defend, Altidore was able to turn and take a low shot which slipped under goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld and into the net.

There was little Hirschfeld could do about the second goal. Altidore sent a low cross from to the right of the net, and Dempsey stretched to knock the ball in at the far post.

''For confidence, it was a good thing,'' coach Bob Bradley said. ''The movement that led to the first goal and the cross to Dempsey for the second both were great plays.''

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was impressive, reacting marvelously to deflect Ali Gerba's powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area with his right hand in the 70th minute. About 15 minutes later, Howard smothered a shot near the edge of the 6-yard box, then made another terrific stop on a volley by Gerba.

''Howard was absolute magic,'' Canadian coach Stephen Hart said. ''I almost clapped.''

Oguchi Onyewu was left out of the starting lineup for the Americans. Coach Bob Bradley went with Tim Ream and Clarence Goodson in central defense.

''We feel that it's a good combination,'' Bob Bradley said. ''As we've gone through training, we feel like the balance between the two is good.''