The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) finished the group stage of the Gold Cup with a perfect record of three wins out of three games. Today they beat Costa Rica 1-0 with Brek Shea goal in the final minutes of the game.
The game did not have many goal scoring opportunities since both teams already had their quarterfinals tickets assure. The only thing in play was who would advance as first place and who would advance as second place. The players did not want to risk too much during the run of play.
The most exciting play of the first half was for the Central Americans in the 33rd minute off of a corner kick. Diaz tried a bicycle kick shot that would have been the goal of the tournament, but the ball went wide.
USMNT had their chances as well, especially on set pieces and with the ball by air. But the USMNT forwards did not have the accuracy needed to break the deadlock.
For the second half there was some more of the same. Both teams wanted the win, but were not willing to risk much to look for it. The tournament goal scorer so far Chris Wondolowski did not have the accuracy that has led him to five goals in two games.
He missed chances like the on in the 54th minute when Bedoya dribbled to the end line and sent in the a backwards cross where Wondolowski was left unmarked. Wondlowski’s shot ended up flying over the crossbar.
Finally in the 81st the lone goal of the game came in. Costa Rica had had their best chance of the game off of a Borges corner kick. Saborio headed the ball which was heading for the top corner. USMNT goalkeeper Sean Johnson flew and got a hand to it to send the ball into the cross bar. The ball was then cleared by the US defense.
After the clearness the ball ended up at Landon Donovan’s feet where he let the ball bounce once and then sent a long through ball to where Brek Shea was running full speed. Shea faced the keeper and shot the ball, the keeper was able to deflect the ball but not enough and the ball found the net.
This score gives the USMNT 9 nine points and they’ll now advance to the quarterfinals where they will face off against El Salvador on Sunday. Costa Rica will also advance to the quarterfinals and will also play on Sunday; they’ll face off against fellow Central Americans Honduras.
USMNT: Sean Johnson, Michael Orozco, Clarence Goodson, Damarcus Beasley, Michael Parkhurst, José F. Torres (Brek Shea min. 76), Mikkel Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya (Joe Corona min. 77), Stuart Holden, Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski (Herculez Gomez min. 76)
Costa Rica: Patrick Pemberton, Michael Umaña, Júnior E. Díaz, Carlos Johnson, Giancarlo González, Roy Miller (Christepher Meneses min. 68), Kenny Cunningham, Celso Borges, Rodney Wallace (Osvaldo Rodriguez min. 71), Yeltsin Tejeda, Jairo Arrieta Ovando (Alvaro Saborio min. 80)