KENYA BROWN - Wednesday, June 8, 2016
The United States rebounded from their opening Copa América Centenario loss with a resounding win over Costa Rica on Tuesday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Graham Zusi would score the goals that ensured the team will have a shot at qualifying from Group A if they can get a result against Paraguay on Saturday in Philadelphia.
After last Friday's depressing 2-0 loss to Colombia, the team, especially head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, came under heavy criticism and many called for the likes of Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic to be put in the starting lineup for the game against los Ticos. However, he stuck with the original starting eleven and it worked out in the end as the US went on a tear in the first half.
However, it was not looking good for the team in the first five minutes of the game as Costa Rica put pressure on the host's goal.
That all changed later when the referee pointed to the spot for a US penalty. Cristian Gamboa would shove Wood from behind as the the forward was attempting to connect with a cross into the box from DeAndre Yedlin. There was only one man that was going to take the penalty and Dempsey stepped up to bury his effort into the left side of the goal. It was his 50th goal in 125 appearances for the U.S.
Jones made it 2-0 to the U.S. in the 37th minute as the team appeared to build more confidence in the first half. The German-American stole the ball at midfield and passed it on to Dempsey, who brought it into the Costa Rican end. He then passed it back to Jones just outside of the penalty area, allowing him to unleash a curling shot that goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton could not reach.
The lead increased to 3-0 when Wood scored his first goal of the tournament three minutes before halftime. Dempsey passed the ball to the newly-signed Hamburg forward in the middle and he turned on defender Oscar Duarte before putting his shot past Pemberton.
Costa Rica were out of the game, but came close to scoring in the 67th minute when Bryan Ruiz's header bounced off the post.
The U.S. wrapped up the game in the 87th minute when Zusi, who came into the game for Wood, collected a pass from Chris Wondolowski. The Sporting KC midfielder made a run into the area and fired his shot past Pemberton.
The win puts the US in second place in Group A with a very good shot at qualifying for the knockout stage of the Copa if they don't lose their final game to Paraguay on Saturday.