A sluggish American team relied on goals from second-half substitutes Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson to notch a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday night.
The international friendly match at Candlestick Park in San Francisco was the first of three World Cup warmups for the U.S. men's national soccer team before it heads to Brazil.
Playing without longtime mainstay Landon Donovan, who was cut from the roster last week, the team was also missing captain Clint Dempsey, who was scratched immediately before kickoff because of a sore left groin.
The 14th-ranked Americans played through a scoreless first half against 85th-ranked Azerbaijan before midfielder Diskerud scored off Brad Davis' free kick in the 75th minute.
Johannsson added his goal on a header off a corner kick from Davis in the match's 81st minute.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who wore the captain's armband in Dempsey's absence, tied Kasey Keller's U.S. record of 53 career wins and posted his 35th career shutout.
The U.S. will next play Sunday versus Turkey in Harrison, New Jersey, and then June 7 against Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida, before heading to Brazil for its seventh-straight World Cup appearance. The team's first World Cup game comes June 16 against Ghana in Natal, Brazil.