Coming into this game, everyone knew this was a must-win for the USMNT. They were being trampled in the national media, many people agreeing that the Women’s national team deserved equal pay or more. U.S Soccer president, Sunil Galati even expressed his displeasure with the team’s opening loss in a roundtable with reporters.
The USMNT didn’t fold though, dominating Costa Rica with a 4-0 win to keep their Copa America hopes alive.
Clint Dempsey led the Men’s National team with 3 points, dropping two dimes to Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood, and the first goal off a penalty kick. This was a totally different team from what the world witnessed against Columbia. They created more chances and was aggressive the entire first half. While Dempsey was the only player with chances against Columbia, the entire midfield put pressure on Costa Rica’s back line.
Jones was named Player of the Match for his work on both sides of the pitch. Jones scored his 4th career international goal in 69 appearances, also his first international goal in two years, last one coming against Portugal in the 2014 World Cup. Jones credited better communication between the midfielders for the big win. He also noted that he thinks they have good communication every game but some teams are better than others, which could affect their communication.
The back line was also much better, mainly DeAndre Yedlin and Michael Bradley. Bradley playing in a new position - what he says is a more comfortable position for him - had a much better outing than in the Columbia opener where he had numerous open field turnovers. USMNT transition offense looked much better which could be credited to Bradley’s performance.
This is a good win but it’s not the end all be all for the USMNT. Coach Jurgen has said the goal for the team is to reach the semi-finals, which isn’t far fetched. The consistency must say the same. With performances like this, the USMNT can defeat anyone in the field. The flipside is that, Costa Rica isn’t one of the favorites in the field. Argentina, Mexico, and even a practice squad Brazilian team will not give up those same opportunities.
USMNT next challenge will be Friday against Paraguay. Paraguay loss to Columbia 2-1 but the game came down to the final whistle. Columbia advance to the quarterfinals with their victory, a win for the USMNT will advance them also.