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.