Ferreira winner, Ochoa heroics lead USMNT U-23's past Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying opener

Ferreira winner, Ochoa heroics lead USMNT U-23's past Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying opener

CONCACAF OLYMPIC QUALIFYING

Ferreira winner, Ochoa heroics lead USMNT U-23's past Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying opener

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Jesus Ferreira began 2021 by scoring a pair of goals for the U.S. Men’s National Team and followed that up with a winning goal for the Under-23 side in its Concacaf Olympic Qualifying opener.

Ferreira’s first-half finish gave the Americans the lead and David Ochoa’s nine-save masterpiece made that goal stand up in a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in Thursday’s Group A opener in Guadalajara, Mexico.

It was a frantic start by both teams, who had chances denied early by each other’s goalkeeper. Ochoa made a pair of first-half saves on Adrian Martinez to keep the Americans level while Kevin Chamorro was quick to deny Ferreira in the second minute.

Sam Vines unlocked the Costa Rican backline in the 35th minute by sending a cross from the left wing, which an onrushing Ferreira slotted home for the breakthrough goal. It was relief for Ferreira, who had sent a golden opportunity off the post in the third minute.

Ochoa continued to stand tall for the Americans as he repelled efforts from MLS players Luis Diaz and Randall Leal after halftime. The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper bailed out his backline, who started feeling the pressure from the Costa Rican attack.

Ferreira came close to doubling his tally in the 64th minute after Hassani Dotson’s through ball sent him on a one-on-one situation. His first touch was poor which ultimately saw the FC Dallas forward only muster a poked chance which Chamorro blocked.

Jurguens Montenegro almost stole one point for Los Ticos in the 84th minute, but his header off a corner kick deflected out off of the left post.

The Americans hung on for a 1-0 victory, a positive first step towards booking a spot in the knockout round. With three points claimed, Kreis can now look to rotate his roster ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Dominican Republic, with the group finale against Mexico looming large.

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