The USA played well but not lethally until Clint Dempsey entered the game. The 34-year-old assisted Jozy Altidore and scored with a free kick in a 2-0 win over Costa Rica that sends the USA into Gold Cup final.
USA Player Ratings:
Player (Club) Caps/Goals
6 Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) 117/0
The 38-year-old came up big on Costa Rica's two chances: stopping Marcos Urena’s breakaways with a foot save in the first half and with a diving save in the second.
5 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 52/5)
Right back was part of back line that was rarely tested by defensive-minded Ticos, while making minimal attacking contributions.
4 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX) 44/3
Lost track of Urena twice, when Howard came to rescue. Created a good U.S. chance when he dribbled into Tico territory and hit precise through ball to Morris.
5 Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) 43/1
Pounced on a dangerous pass into the penalty area in the 54th minute in rare Tico foray.
6 Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX) 10/0
Left back, always comfortable on the ball, defended well and attacked, especially late in the first half and midway through the second half, including an impressive cross-field pass.
6 Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) 19/1
Key reason why the USA had most of the possession. Delivered the ball to Dempsey on the first goal buildup. Set up a 65th-minute shot for Altidore after intercepting the ball in midfield.
6 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) 13/1
Part of a fairly dominant U.S. midfield. Missed a 15th-minute chance while off balance. Forced a 70th-minute save from keeper Patrick Pemberton. Drew the foul that lead to Dempsey’s free-kick goal.
6 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 135/17
Short of doing any spectacular but served as competent link between backline and attack, like when he got things started on the first U.S. goal.
5 Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX) 10/2
Beat defenders on the right wing a few times but failed to created scoring chances. Helped Zusi defend right flank.
7 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 106/38
Did nice prep work that created a close-range chance for Acosta. Forced save with long-range 65th shot. Made the most of his only other shot of the game, giving the USA a 1-0 lead.
4 Jordan Morris
(Seattle Sounders), 19/4.
Hit the post in the 1st minute, quiet for the remainder of the first half, helped set up Acosta’s 70th-minute shot with pass to Dempsey.
8 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 136/57
Star of the game came off the bench in the 66th minute and assisted on Altidore goal seven minutes later after evading three defenders. Scored with a brilliant free kick, catching Pemberton off guard by curling it low inside the near post from 24 yards.
nr Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) 36/6
Replaced for Altidore for the final seven minutes.
nr Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire) 11/0
Replaced Acosta for the final five minutes.
(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
TRIVIA: Clint Dempsey’s goal was his 57th, tying him with Landon Donovan as all-time USA leading scorer.
July 22 in Arlington, Texas
USA 2 Costa Rica 0. Goals: Altidore (Dempsey) 72, Dempsey 82.
USA — Howard; Zusi, O.González, Besler, Villafaña; Arriola (Dempsey, 66), K.Acosta (McCarty, 85), Bradley, Nagbe; Morris, Altidore (Zardes, 83).
Costa Rica — Pemberton; Salvatierra (Azofeifa, 78), G.Gonzalez, J.Acosta, Waston, Calvo; Ruiz, Guzman (Leiton, 80), Tejeda (Gutierrez, 74), Ramírez; Urena.
Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)
Yellow cards: USA – O.Gonzalez 61, Altidore 72; Costa Rica -- G.Gonzalez 67.
STATS: USA/Costa Rica
Shots on target: 4/2
Corner Kicks: 2/4