United States Mens National Team

Thoughts from USA 4, Costa Rica 0 Copa America Match

First half

  • The U.S was very lucky to survive the first five minutes. Despite the fact the host nation should have come out with all the energy in a must-win match, it was the other CONCACAF team that had all of the energy and chances. If Joel Campbell would have been better with his chances, the U.S. would have again been down early.
  • The penalty shout against Costa Rica was soft, but when you put your hands on a player’s back in front of the referee, and the player falls, you’re getting a foul called on you.
  • The U.S. began to settle the game down by playing a suffocating defense on the wings. Bedoya and Jones played well out wide to disrupt the midfield, and the U.S. turned the match into the style of play where they excel.
  • The magnificent goal by Jermaine Jones overshadowed Clint Dempsey doing what Deuce does worst – he tried to create his own shot and ended up losing the ball, giving the defender a forearm in the process.
  • The third goal shows the U.S. what they could have in the future with Bobby Wood. The turn and laser-like shot to the corner was quintessential power striker, and the ease with which he did it was impressive. The time for him to supplant Clint Dempsey is not here yet, but it’s close.
  • There was a lot to love in the first half. Fans finally saw the Jermaine Jones that Jurgen Klinsmann has seen for years. DeAndre Yedlin looked like he chugged five Red Bulls before the game and he needed that energy to track forward then back to break up the Costa Rica attack. For this match, the 4-3-3 worked although, as Stuart Holden noted, it morphed at times to a 4-4-2 with Dempsey sliding behind Wood.

Second Half

  • We probably should not be surprised Campbell was subbed out at halftime. He was completely ineffective in the first half when, if he would have been half-decent, I think Costa Rica would have snatched a goal.
  • Despite being up 3-0 and having a game Saturday, Klinsmann waits until the 70th minute to make his first substitution. Zusi came on for Bobby Wood to continue the 4-4-2.
  • Hats off to Costa Rica for continuing to fight, but the quality was not there. Even when they had good chances in front of the U.S.’s net, their finishing was poor.

Overall thoughts

This was a great response to the U.S. and will feed into the whole “backs against the wall” narrative that seems to color how we perceive our progress in world soccer. In the end, however, this was the kind of result we should get in a tournament on our home soil if we want to be considered a world power.


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