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USA vs. Costa Rica, Copa America 2016: Final score 4-0, Big first half keys USMNT win

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A much needed result in a "can't lose" match.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The United States men's national team shook off their opening loss and delivered a 4-0 win over Costa Rica at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Costa Rica had the match's first opportunity in the 5th minute when Joel Campbell's volley went wide.

The U.S. drew a penalty in the 7th minute when Bobby Wood was pushed down while attempting to meet a DeAndre Yedlin cross. Clint Dempsey calmly sent the keeper the wrong way for his 50th career international goal.

Gyasi Zardes found himself alone in the box in the 33rd minute, but sent his shot high and wide.

Jermaine Jones doubled the American's lead in the 37th minute. He forced a turnover which led to Dempsey making a long run deep into the attacking third. Dempsey sent the ball back to Jones who scored.

Bobby Wood put the U.S. up 3-0 in the 42nd minute. He received a Dempsey pass at the top of the box, made a quick turn, and finished into the corner of the net.

Costa Rica attempted to mount a comeback in the second half, and the U.S. was content to sit back and absorb pressure.

Substitute Graham Zusi put the match away in the 87th minute. He picked the pocket of a Costa Rican defender, dribbled into the box, and finished to put the U.S. up 4-0.

With the win, the U.S. has three points from two matches in Group A at the Copa America Centenario, and is currently in second place behind Colombia.

Thoughts

  • Costa Rica started the match with a high press and the U.S. struggled to maintain possession. Costa Rica almost scored an early goal off a bad clearance, and the U.S. was lucky not to be down 1-0. It was vaguely shocking to see how poorly the back line was dealing with the high press, as if they had never seen one before. If the U.S. didn't get that early goal against the run of play, it's doubtful they would have won the match as it seemed like they were minutes away from surrendering a devastating early goal. Crazy how things can change in an instant with all of Costa Rica's energy evaporating after the penalty.
  • Gyasi Zardes has a bad habit of doing one good thing and immediately following it up with a bad thing. He'll make an excellent trap and then misplay a pass. He'll steal the ball from an opponent and dribble out of bounds. The talent and potential is there, but it's incredibly frustrating when everything isn't put together.
  • Credit to Jurgen Klinsmann for sticking with his preferred lineup. They got the job done. If the U.S. lost, he would have been characterized as stubborn. Since they won, he's trusting and calm.
  • The old guys got it done. Despite calls for their benching, Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey proved why they still belong on the field. Facing elimination from contention with a loss, they stepped up big and provided the necessary composed finishing when it mattered. Now the question is whether they can do it again on Saturday.
  • The U.S. almost got burned on another dead ball play. Costa Rica got mildly creative with a late free kick and almost scored. Laziness and easily being tricked on set pieces isn't a problem yet, but it will become one if it continues.

What's next?

The U.S. heads to Philadelphia to take on Paraguay in their final group play game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The match is Saturday, June 11th at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and UniMAS.