USMNT Report: Americans Shine With Backs Against the WallIt was a must-win game, and the USA certainly won ... convincingly.
by Herb Scribner | Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Here we go again.
If you were someone who thought the United States Men’s National Team would bow out of this tournament easily, think again. The USMNT just obliterated Costa Rica 4-0 to keep themselves alive in the Copa America.
Of course, this was just one win, and the USA will need some help from other teams, as well as a result next week, to move forward.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jermaine Jones — I’ve never been a huge fan of Jones in recent months, given his increased age and lazy play. But tonight he played incredbly hard and like a man with something to prove. He worked hard defensively, and pushed forward when he needed to. He even scored a goal, a rarity for the USA. Well done, Jones.
ANALYSIS: Well, this was a must-win for a lot of reasons. Not only was coach Jurgen Klinsmann on the hot seat, but so too was the USA, who knew that a loss would send them out of contention for the tournament.
But the Americans responded in much of the same way they normally do. They played incredibly hard. Though the game was scrappy — which played to their advantage — the USA found good form throughout the game that kept them in contention.
As I mentioned earlier, Jones worked extremely well in the midfield with Michael Bradley. These two have become quite a formidable combo when Jones is on. It definitely helped keep Costa Rica contained in the middle, and gave the USA a chance to counterattack easily when the Ticos sent too many men forward.
The team really seemed to be working together overall, at least as far as chemistry is concerned. Bradley found Bobby Wood open on the wing — though that wasn’t a great idea for Wood to play in, given he’s more successful in the striker position — and Dempsey (sort of) found Jones open on the side. It was also good for Dempsey to score on the penalty, hopefully giving him some confidence moving forward.
The American defense wasn’t tested too much. The Ticos sent many men forward, but there weren’t too many direct chances that put the USA under too much heat. DeAndre Yedlin was one of the better defenders, and we’ve clearly seen a good turnaround from him in the last few months.
Tuesday’s victory was certainly a confidence builder for the USA, which was much needed after Colombia defeated them earlier in the tournament. Sure, it was Costa Rica, but it was a sound and convincing victory from the US that’ll help them feel confident going into a final affair with Paraguay.
So what needs to happen next? The US needs to hope Chile can beat Paraguay, solidifying Colombia as the winners of the group. With a draw or win over Paraguay, USA can then wrap up the second spot and proceed to the knockout round.
That may be asking a lot, but if the USA plays at all like they did tonight, we’re in for a storied finish to this group stage of the Copa America tournament.
NEXT UP: Copa America — United States vs. Paraguay, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 5 p.m., FS1.