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U.S. Men's National Team

Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore send USMNT past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final

The U.S. Men’s National Team is bound for the Gold Cup final thanks to the play of two of the group’s star forwards.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore combined for a pair of goals in the USMNT’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica in Saturday’s Gold Cup semifinal. The win sends the USMNT onto the Gold Cup final, where they will look to win CONCACAF’s regional competition for the first time since 2013.

After playing provider on the first goal, Dempsey scored the second, tying Landon Donovan’s all-time goalscoring record. On a free kick in the 83rd minute, Dempsey ripped a shot under the wall and into the back of the net all but sealing the win for the USMNT.

In the midst of a strong but somewhat ineffective match, the U.S. breakthrough finally came in the 73rd minute with the team’s veteran strikers combining. Just moments after coming into the match, Dempsey’s perfectly-weighted through-ball rolled right into the path of Altidore, who ripped a first-time shot past Patrick Pemberton for what proved to be the game-winning goal.

The first half saw the USMNT largely maintain possession, but both teams took turns generating big chances. The USMNT’s best look came just seconds in as Jordan Morris rocketed a shot off the post in the opening minute. Just inches away from a dream start, the USMNT was largely held quiet for the rest of the half, as Pemberton wasn’t forced into a save.

On the other end, Howard made a big one in the 37th minute. Following a strong sequence from Bryan Ruiz and Marco Urena, Howard slid out to make a kick save on the latter, preserving the 0-0 deadlock.

The USMNT came out hot in the second half, but there was a real lack of a final ball throughout the opening minutes. Paul Arriola created several opportunities down the left side before being removed for Dempsey. The substitution, ultimately, changed the game, as Dempsey slid Altidore in on the USMNT’s opening goal with his 20th career international assist.

With the win, the U.S. takes on the winner of Mexico’s clash with Jamaica in Wednesday’s Gold Cup final at Levi’s Stadium.

33 comments
  • TheFrenchOne

    I criticized Bruce for his substituions last game, but he was spot on tonight. And his starting line up was good.

    I’ve been down on Villafana all tournament, but he looked good tonite and combined really well with Nagbe.

    Speaking of Nagbe, he made so many good things happen with his incisive runs through midfield. Bradley and Acosta seemed to have a good game together.

    We absolutely controlled this game from start to finish. No major defensive lapses, unlike every other game leading up to this point, so credit to the team for that.

    Like

      • UclaBruinGreat

        Nope. A team creating a good scoring opportunity and beating a defender does not necessarily equal a “lapse” by said defender. You said two lapses, I’m not sure which is the first one but I am guessing your second one is the play Howard made the save right before Altidore scored. Look at the replay (I have game recorded and am looking at it now again). Gonzalez was doing exactly what he is supposed to do. Its just that the Costa Rican player did an awesome quick flick pass over Gonzalez and put it perfectly in the path of the other Costa Rican defender. Sometimes the other team just makes a good move and beats you on that play. Too many fans expect defenders to have perfect games. That’s rarely if ever going to happen. Especially with the defenders in the US pool. We have a few good defenders, with Cameron being a little better than good. We don’t have any great defenders. 1. Cameron 2. Brooks 3. Gonzalez in that order are easily our best defenders.

        Like

  • bizzy

    Clint Dempsey = creativity, a goal and an assist…..a lethal super sub, wow!!!!
    Tim Howard….Clutch saves
    Besler and Gonzalez are a good partnership but could do better
    Michael Bradley…what happen to him and who was that beast on the field?
    Nagbe…great talent, solid ball control, hard to displace, needs to shoot a little more in the final third
    Acosta is the man next to Bradley
    Morris nice touches, good runs….short by ONLY INCHES for a “kick off” goal
    Altidore…..wow
    Arena UNBEATEN SINCE TAKING OVER
    “Bruce Arena is a better coach for the USMNT than Klinsmann”
    “Bruce Arena is a better coach for the USMNT than Klinsmann”
    One more time Bruce Arena is a better coach for the USMNT than Klinsmann

    Like

    • johnnyrazor

      The last time the US and Costa Rica played on US soil, JK’s US squad had the game won at halftime up 3-0 and cruising to a 4-0 victory. I don’t think you’re wrong, I just don’t think this game proved it by any means.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bizzy

        not this game…..more like the UNBEATEN RUN leading to this game

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Bradley’s start with 10 wins and 1 draw still a better start for me than Bruce’s 8 wins and 5 draws. Tonight probably the squad’s second best performance behind the dismantling of Honduras. Really only three of those thirteen would you say we played well. I guess that’s what separates good from best the ability to scratch out a result when you don’t play well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bizzy

        True, hats off to BB but Bradley didn’t take over the a losing team that was falling apart with no identity and no vision. To come in cold turkey, with that much pressure and stop the bleeding IMMEDIATELY, with no loses (something your predecessor couldn’t do IN 4+ YEARS) and take us to a Gold cup final doing things your way? We have to give credit where credit is due

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        US had won just two of its last eight matches when Bob took over, hadn’t won a match in seven months (much less crowded schedule back then) and tied for 25th place at the World Cup (led by one Bruce Arena during that time by the way). It was a pretty down time in American soccer as well, losing to Morocco at home in a World Cup tune up and being blasted by Klinsmann’s German side 4-1. When we forget our history we are bound to repeat it, aka don’t keep the same manager for two World Cup cycles (unless he is named Joachim Low).

        Liked by 1 person

      • bizzy

        Johnnyrazor
        Arena was hired by the U.S. national team to replace Steve Sampson as head coach in October 1998 following the team’s disastrous showing in the 1998 FIFA World Cup…..handed a s#!& sandwichbut Bob Bradley took over from the coach with the most wins is USSOCCER

        Arena also created the blueprint for integrating domestic and European based players in the MNT roster. Both World Cup squads had a near even split of 12 European and 11 MLS-based players made up his rosters at both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a nine-man U.S. squad earned one of the USMNT’s most memorable results in its tournament history

        During his time as national team head coach, the United States rose in the FIFA world rankings from nineteenth to fourth….4th HAS NEVER HAPPENED SINCE. Arena’s 75 wins from 1998 to 2006 makes him the coach with the most wins in U.S. history.

        That’s what was handed to Bob Bradley…..Not another s#!& sandwich, that needed serious damage control only to be had to be salvaged and streamlined in a way that’s close to winning a major tournament

        It’s like he seems to always be the one to call after US Soccer has flat-lined…..AND HE SEEMS TO BRINGS US BACK EVERY TIME 😉

        Like

    • Gary Page

      Now will people believe me when I say Dempsey is the most technically skillful player we have? .

      Like

      • johnnyrazor

        I had that exact thought when he did that first spin.

        Like

      • Concorde

        it’s not skill alone. dempsey’s also got something else.

        Like

      • TheFrenchOne

        GP- sorry, no, i still can’t agree with that. I stand by my previous statement that Pulisic and Nagbe are more technically skillful than Dempsey. Is he a more lethal finisher or plays with more flair? Yes, absolutely. And his master performance last night showed that.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

    Jozy is the #1 striker for the USMNT. Clint should be a super sub.

    I said this two years ago and I’ll still say it now…

    Don’t @ me…

    Aside from that, nagbe surely has responded well from Arena urging him to play confident and bold. He is the best dribbler in traffic not named Pulisic lol

    Acosta, might not truly bloom til 2020 or so but this kid has natural soccer IQ and ability flowing out of his ears. Gonna be fun next 8 years. Yedlin, Pulisic, acosta, Arriola, CCV; all talented players 23 or younger…(there are a few more I left out obvi)

    Like

    • beachbum

      re. Nagbe, I’ll give him an even bigger compliment. After coming out strong and fast to start the game and the first half, he got whacked hard and had to deal with that the rest of the first half. wasn’t the same player there for a while imo

      the compliment is he came out second half and overcame that mess, and instead of succumbing to that pressure was everything we saw. great performance

      Liked by 1 person

      • johnnyrazor

        Did a better job of keeping his spacing with Villafana in the second half as well. Several times in the first half those two were trying to play in the same space and lost the ball because of it. Nagbe did a better job of tucking in and playing the wide ball sooner after the break.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bac

        I agree dude, Nagbe was excellent.
        I would love to see what we could do with some combo of Nagbe on the left w CP inside next to him, underneath Deuce, and Fabian overlapping from LB…

        Like

      • Gary Page

        I know my opinion is not popular, but I still say he is too much like Moussa Dembele of Tottenham. He looks great on the ball and is great from box to box, but he’s not that productive. His decision making tends to break down as he approaches the box on offense. I counted 4 times that he held onto the ball too long and lost it when he should have passed. He certainly has value, but he doesn’t make that killer pass. Kljestan is better in my book if you want a midfielder who will set up goals. And Dempsey has 2 assists in 2 games (actually in about 95 minutes, not 2 games) while Nagbe has 0 in 5.

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Gary: I agree he has to do better in the final third. He was also a late addition to the GC, so 0 assists in 2 games.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bac

        @Gary- I don’t think you’re wrong, I’d say your statement is completely true but not truly complete.
        1- International Nagbe now way ahead of a year ago..
        2- We haven’t had someone in the midfield with his touch, ability to relieve pressure, & carry the ball w/ pace in a long time, and we NEED that..
        He’s just a step away from the complete package, and next to CP he’s giving the team something we desperately need

        Liked by 1 person

      • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

        Nagbe is a pressure reliever, not a cam lol. He plays wide mid or left central mid. He’s the bridge between offense and defense not the assist guy. People need to stop judging him on what he’s not.

        Additionally, he said in an interview that arena told him to really go after it and don’t just pass the ball around safely. So now that he is moving much more and trying things it’s only natural that he has a couple missteps here or there.

        Like

    • bizzy

      @DLOA “I said this two years ago and I’ll still say it now”
      ….didn’t make sense then and it doesn’t make sense now. Yes he looked good (today), yes he came through when it mattered (today) but Dempsey is a better striker than Altidore (and he’s 34) so is Bobby Wood, who plays at a higher level (and scores) than Jozi EVER has. He did good, he played well, and he scored in a gold cup…but so did Dwyer…..Gonzo …Miazga etc
      Altidore scoring against a watered down Costa Rica side doesn’t mean he is the best striker we have

      Like

  • Soccering is Fun

    I think Keylor Navas would have saved both t US goals, but thankfully we’ll never know. Good win!

    Like

  • alndres ventura

    Sweet revenge,clint dempsey and Jozy Altidore made it all for USMNT team,they show,they are
    still in good shape,i saw the game from La Paz México,and i jumped whit Altidore and mister
    clint Dempsey goal, the ticos almost cried,now wit the winner México.Jamaica.
    Usa looks like in his best moment,so the crowd of 45 fans,were very happy like before,and
    the USMNT now is better than México

    Like

  • I scored three goals in one game

    Joe gyau opened his 3 bundesliga season going 90 and scoring a goal in a 4-1 win

    Like

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