Clint Dempsey had a goal and two assists, and the United States rebounded from its opening loss in Copa America with a convincing 4-0 victory over Costa Rica on Tuesday night.
Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Graham Zusi also scored as the U.S. moved into prime position to grab one of two spots in the knockout round coming out of Group A in South America’s championship. The Americans take on Paraguay in Philadelphia on Saturday night.
It was quite a response to days of questions after the U.S. allowed a goal off a corner kick and committed a costly hand ball in a 2-0 loss to Colombia on Friday night.
Costa Rica, which played a scoreless tie against Paraguay in its Copa opener on Saturday in Florida, looked sluggish for long stretches of the first half and was unable to recover. It played without key defender Kendall Waston after he got a red card in the previous game.
The loss to Colombia ramped up criticism of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who said last month the Copa goal for the Americans was the semifinals.
U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati told a group of reporters before the match that recent results for the men’s team “haven’t been what we would have hoped for, especially in the official competitions.”
But Klinsmann and his players insisted they felt pretty good in the team’s performance on Friday night in Northern California, and the coach doubled down on the positive vibe by sending out the same starters against defensive-minded Costa Rica. And it worked — in a big way.
Moments after DeAndre Yedlin’s poor clearing attempt almost set up an early goal for Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell, the Americans started to find their way.