Clint Dempsey scores, adds 2 assists as US beats Costa Rica 4-0

Jun 8, 2016, 12:05 AM | Updated: 1:41 pm
Clint Dempsey's penalty-kick goal jumpstarted the U.S. in its 4-0 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday. (...
Clint Dempsey's penalty-kick goal jumpstarted the U.S. in its 4-0 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday. (AP)

The United States came into its group A match against Costa Rica with anything but confidence. A 2-0 loss at home to Colombia wasn’t the way the hosts wanted to kick off such a huge occasion. But despite starting the exact same lineup Tuesday against Costa Rica, Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad showed just what it can do with a Clint Dempsey-inspired 4-0 win over their CONCACAF rivals.

Costa Rica started quite well, threatening the U.S. in the first few minutes. That didn’t last long, as a spell of attacking by the home team led to a penalty after a Costa Rica defender was judged (rightly, I think) to have pushed Bobby Wood down as the striker was trying to connect with DeAndre Yedlin’s cross. Dempsey dispatched the penalty with aplomb, giving the USMNT its first goal of the tournament.

Dempsey turned provider later in the half, when a counterattack started by Jermaine Jones allowed him to get creative at the top of the box. As the Sounders forward lost the ball thanks to a heavy touch, Jones picked it up at the corner of the box and blasted it into the net for the Americans’ second goal.

The U.S. had barely finished celebrating when Dempsey found himself at the corner of the box again, but this time he intentionally sent the ball into Wood, who turned magnificently to shoot and score for a 3-0 lead going into halftime.

The second half started much more slowly, with the U.S. continuing to attack – though it didn’t come to much for the most part. Costa Rica clearly threw everything possible at the U.S., but nothing came of it for the majority of the half. It took late sub Graham Zusi (who came on for Wood) to break the second-half deadlock, as a quick U.S. counterattack was finished well by the Sporting KC midfielder.

The U.S. heads to its third and final group match on a high with the 4-0 scoreline.

Man of the match: Dempsey, no doubt. He scored one goal and assisted two others. This was vintage Dempsey, and Sounders fans will hope he brings it back with him to Seattle.

Turning point: A 1-0 lead is very dangerous in soccer, and while 2-0 brings a feeling of security, it still feels vulnerable in such an important match like this one. Wood’s goal, which was a paragon of the Americans’ dominance on the night, really shut the door for the win.

One reason to worry: Costa Rica is small potatoes compared to Colombia, and this was a match that the U.S. was really expected to win. The Americans could be facing a much more difficult opponent if they make it out of the group.

One reason to relax: The U.S. hadn’t beaten Costa Rica since the infamous Snowclasico in 2013, and 4-0 is the biggest win the U.S. has had in this fixture. Costa Rica may be small, but the team has a chip on its shoulder, especially against the U.S. This was a big, important, and dominant win for the Americans.

Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.

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Clint Dempsey scores, adds 2 assists as US beats Costa Rica 4-0