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Dempsey Strike Ties All-Time MNT Goals Record, Caps USA's 2-0 Gold Cup Semifinal Win vs. Costa Rica

ARLINGTON, Texas (July 22, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team utilized two second-half goals in the span of 10 minutes from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to defeat Costa Rica 2-0 in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal in front of 45,516 fans at AT&T Stadium.

Dempsey’s 82nd minute strike was the 57th of his international career, tying him with Landon Donovan for the most all-time by a U.S. MNT player.

With the win, the U.S. MNT moves on to its record 10th Gold Cup Final on Wednesday, July 26 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (9:30 p.m. ET; FS1, Univision and Univision Deportes Network), where it will meet the winner of Sunday’s second semifinal between Mexico and Jamaica.

Coming on the heels of a fury of second-half chances, the breakthrough came six minutes after Dempsey entered, unlocking the Costa Rica defense with a beautiful pass for Altidore who then tucked his effort past Costa Rica ‘keeper Patrick Pemberton in the 72nd minute.

Dempsey got in on the scoring 10 minutes later, when he curled a low free kick from 25 yards out around the Costa Rica wall and just inside the right post to record his historic 57th all-time goal

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT takes on the winner of Sunday’s Mexico-Jamaica Semifinal in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final on Wednesday, July 26. Kickoff from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET on FS1, Univision and Univision Deportes Network).
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jozy Altidore (Clint Dempsey), 72nd minute:
The breakthrough finally came shortly after Clint Dempsey’s entrance into the match. Having created a chance for Kellyn Acosta two minutes earlier, the substitute forward picked up a ball from Nagbe in midfield and glided past two Costa Rica defenders before playing the final pass to get Altidore into the box on the left. Dempsey’s pass helped the U.S. forward beat Jose Salvatierra before he slipped his low effort past onrushing Costa Rica ‘keeper Patrick Pemberton. USA 1, CRC 0 [WATCH]

USA – Clint Dempsey, 82nd minute: History was made 10 minutes after the opening goal as Dempsey lined up a free kick about 25 yards out. The substitute forward curled his low effort around the Costa Rica wall and inside the lower right post, hitting home his 57th career international strike to tie Landon Donovan at the top of the U.S. MNT all-time goal scoring chart. Dempsey equaled Donovan in front of numerous family members and friends in his home state of Texas.
USA 2, CRC 0 [WATCH] FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Tim Howard, 37th minute: Despite long spells of U.S. possession, the game’s first big save game from Howard. After a nice move in the center circle helped him gain a step on Michael Bradley, Bryan Ruiz went on an impressive 40-yard run towards goal, before slipping Marco Ureña in at the top of the area. Shadowed by Omar Gonzalez, the striker took a touch before firing a low, blast which Howard turned away with a kick save at the top of the six-yard box.

CRC – Patrick Pemberton, 56th minute: A quick U.S. counterattack saw Darlington Nagbe slide the ball to Jorge Villafaña on the flank before the left back whipped in a low cross that saw Pemberton awkwardly come off his line to punch away. The rebound fell for Kellyn Acosta just outside the box, but the midfielder couldn’t get a clean touch before David Guzman came to clear away the danger.

CRC – Patrick Pemberton, 65th minute: The U.S. pulled another quick transition when Nagbe intercepted a pass out of the back at midfield before immediately striding towards goal. The midfielder held up his run about 25 yards out and laid for Altidore who knuckled an effort from distance that forced Pemberton to punch away the danger.

CRC – Patrick Pemberton, 70th minute: Arena’s side continued to press for the opening goal as Morris strolled through midfield before finding substitute Clint Dempsey at the top of the area. There, he laid a square pass for Acosta whose first-time effort was saved by Pemberton, before the Costa Rica ‘keeper claimed the rebound.

USA – Tim Howard, 71st minute: A through ball out of the back slipped past the U.S. midfield and straight to Ureña who beat out Omar Gonzalez only to have Howard make a diving stop off his line before quickly pouncing on the rebound.

NOTES:

  • Clint Dempsey’s 82nd minute free kick was the 57th goal of his international career, tying him with Landon Donovan for first all-time on the U.S. MNT goal scoring list.
  • Dempsey also recorded his 20th career assist on Altidore’s goal, moving him past Claudio Reyna into sole possession of third on the U.S. MNT’s all-time assist list.
  • Jozy Altidore tallied his 38th career international goal to open the scoring in the 72nd minute.
  • Having gone 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena returned as head coach, the team extends its unbeaten streak to 13-matches, a record to start a U.S. MNT head coaching tenure.
  • Bruce Arena made five changes from the lineup that started against El Salvador, inserting Kellyn Acosta, Matt Besler, Jordan Morris, Jorge Villafaña and Graham Zusi vs. Costa Rica.
  • Earning his 135th cap, Michael Bradley moved past Jeff Agoos into sole possession of fourth on the U.S. MNT’s all-time appearance list.
  • Tim Howard made two saves to earn his 61st career win and 42nd all-time clean sheet.
  • Howard combined with the U.S. back line of Jorge Villafaña, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi to earn the MNT’s third-straight clean sheet at the tournament.
  • Defender Jorge Villafaña made his team-leading 10th appearance of 2017 as well as his first appearance in the Gold Cup Knockout Round. 
  • Jordan Morris earned his second start of the tournament and remains the only player to appear in all five tournament matches.
  • Kellyn Acosta and Michael Bradley paired in central midfield for the second time this year, with the first coming in the USA’s 1-1 World Cup Qualifying draw at Mexico on June 11.
  • Dallas Metroplex products Omar Gonzalez (Dallas) and Kellyn Acosta (Plano) each earned starts near their hometown.
  • Besler and Gonzalez paired in central defense for the second time at this year’s Gold Cup and first since the 1-1 draw vs. Panama in the tournament opener on July 8.
  • Jordan Morris and Jozy Altidore partnered up front for the second time and first since a 1-0 friendly win against Canada on Feb. 5, 2016 vs. Canada. 
  • The USA is 15-15-6 all-time vs. Costa Rica and 14-6-4 on U.S. soil.
  • The U.S. improves to 7-0-1 vs. Los Ticos in Gold Cup play.
  • Arena improves his record to 5-3-2 record in 10 meetings with Costa Rica.
  • The USA has more wins in the CONCACAF Gold Cup than any other nation, going 55-8-9 all-time.
  • The U.S. has gone an impressive 23-7-5 during the tournament’s Knockout Round.
  • With a 18-1-4 record in the Gold Cup, Arena is also the winningest head coach all-time in the competition.
  • The U.S. manager is 8-1-3 in the Knockout Round and 16-0-4 overall vs. CONCACAF opposition in the tournament. 
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MNT Jul 20, 2017

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date: July 22, 2017
Competition: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup; Semifinals
Venue: AT&T Stadium; Dallas, Texas
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Attendance: 45,516
Weather: 82 degrees; clear 

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F                                                         
USA                             0          2          2
CRC                            0          0          0 

USA – Jozy Altidore (Clint Dempsey)    72nd minute
USA – Clint Dempsey                              82 

Lineups:
USA:­ 24-Tim Howard; 19-Graham Zusi, 3-Omar González, 5-Matt Besler, 2-Jorge Villafaña; 20-Paul Arriola (28-Clint Dempsey, 66), 23-Kelly Acosta (13-Dax McCarty, 85), 26-Michael Bradley (capt.), 25-Darlington Nagbe; 8-Jordan Morris, 27-Jozy Altidore (9-Gyasi Zardes, 83)
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 4-Matt Miazga, 7-Chris Pontius, 10-Joe Corona, 15-Eric Lichaj, 16-Justin Morrow, 18-Juan Agudelo, 21-Matt Hedges, 29-Jesse González
Head coach: Bruce Arena

CRC: 18-Patrick Pemberton; 6-José Salvatierra (14-Randall Azofeifa, 78), 3-Giancarlo González, 2-Johnny Acosta, 24-Kendall Waston, 15-Francisco Calvo; 10-Bryan Ruiz (capt.), 20-David Guzmán (25-José Leitón, 80), 17-Yeltsin Tejeda (5-Kenner Gutiérrez, 74), 7-David Ramírez; 21-Marco Ureña
Subs not used: 23-Dany Carvajal, 1- Leonel Moreira, 16-Christian Gamboa, 26-Jhamir Ordain, 8-Bryan Oviedo, 4-Michael Umaña, 22-Juan Pablo Vargas, 12-Joel Campbell, 27-Jimmy Marín, 19-Ulises Segura, 14-Rodney Wallace, 9-Ariel Rodríguez, 11-Johan Venegas
Head Coach: Oscar Ramírez 

Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 10 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 2
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 20 / 15
Offside: 1 / 2 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Omar González (caution)              61st minute
CRC - Giancarlo González (caution)        67
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution)                  72 

Officials:
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: William Torres (SLV)
Fourth Official: César Ramos (MEX) 

Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey

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Ready When Called: Tim Howard Remains Reliable in Gold Cup

Tim Howard is best known to the public for his record 15-save performance in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-1 extra time defeat to Belgium at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The “Secretary of Defense” stunned the world with stops that ranged from routing to spectacular.

While that performance was no doubt incredible, it’s often when a goalkeeper faces only one or two key moments during 90 minutes where they demonstrate their mettle. The ability to deal with long stretches of inactivity while always staying on the ready when a big save needs to be made is what separates the good from the great.

Howard’s ability in that department has been on display at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The veteran goalkeeper may only have a combined three saves in his two matches in the tournament thus far, but all of them have been nothing short of critical to the USA’s advancement to the Final.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more patient. As a goalkeeper, I try and be ready for those moments,” Howard told ussoccer.com on Sunday.

Those chances can of course come at different times. In Wednesday’s Quarterfinal against El Salvador, Howard was called into action just three minutes in as a soft back pass allowed Rodolfo Zelaya a clear lane to goal before he alertly came off his line to make the save.

Against Costa Rica, the USA’s dominance in possession left Howard largely untested for large portions of the first half. That was until a sizzling run from Bryan Ruiz pushed Marco Ureña through on goal, but again Howard was there to make a sharp kick save on the 37th minute attempt.

With the game still at 0-0 and only 19 minutes remaining before a penalty shootout would determind the winner, Howard was called into action again when Ureña got on the end of a through ball out of the back and beat his mark, only to have the veteran netminder come off his line to make a diving stop. The save kept things level, and within a minute the U.S. MNT was down at the other end celebrating Jozy Altidore’s eventual game-winner.

The performances lifted Howard’s all-time record at the confederation championship to 10-0-2, earning him his seventh and eighth career clean sheets in the process.

Always vocal at the back, Howard said that part of the exercise is communicating with the defenders in front of him, but it’s also to keep himself alert at all times.

“When the ball isn’t nearby, I’m trying to communicate and put guys in the right position. I scream and yell a lot and people think that’s for everyone else, but sometimes that’s for me, to keep me focused and sharp and ready.”

And at the end of the day, Howard says all the routines and preparation only work if the big moments end in a save.

“Ultimately you have to make the big saves. You can do all the other stuff, and if you don’t make the saves it matters for nothing. The keys are being ready, being patient, lots of communication, talking, and understanding danger moments. The easy part, the bread and butter, is making the save.” 

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MNT Jul 23, 2017

U.S. MNT Has Goals From Nine Different Players Going Into Gold Cup Final

In advance of the Semifinal against Costa Rica, head coach Bruce Arena reminded the media that the U.S. MNT had scored the most goals in the tournament so far. While the nine goals in four games deserved mention, equally significant is the range of scorers.

With the goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey against Los Ticos, a total of nine different U.S. players have found the back of the net through five matches in the competition. For comparison’s sake, the next closest is Mexico with six ahead of Sunday night’s Semifinal against Jamaica.

2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Results and Goal Scorers

Date

Result

Goal Scorers

Round

July 8, 2017

1-1 D vs. Panama

Dwyer

Group Stage

July 12, 2017

3-2 W vs. Martinique

Morris (2), O. Gonzalez

Group Stage

July 15, 2017

3-0 W vs. Nicaragua

Corona, Rowe, Miazga

Group Stage

July 19, 2017

2-0 W vs. El Salvador

O. Gonzalez, Lichaj

Quarterfinal

July 22, 2017

2-0 W vs. Costa Rica

Altidore, Dempsey

Semifinal

And while the mark is impressive, it isn’t yet unprecedented. In fact, the tournament record was set by the United States during the 2009 tournament, when 10 different players registered goals. Additionally, when the U.S. last won the Gold Cup in 2013, it also had goal-scoring contributions from nine different players.

One of the keys to any team finding success in a tournament setting is receiving contributions from a number of players. During the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has made it a point to 27 of the 29 players on his roster.

As the team advanced to the Final with Saturday’s 2-0 win against Costa Rica, the obvious payoff has been fresher legs in the deep stages of the tournament.

Check out the team goal-scoring highs from each of the 13 previous CONCACAF Gold Cups below:

Year

Team (Number of goal scorers)

1991

USA (7)

1993

Mexico (7)

1996

Brazil, Mexico, USA (5)

1998

Costa Rica (5)

2000

Peru (6)

2002

USA (6)

2003

USA (7)

2005

Mexico, USA (6)

2007

USA (8)

2009

USA (10)

2011

Mexico (7)

2013

USA (9)

2015

Mexico (6)

2017

USA (9)*

*Still one game to be played

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MNT Jul 23, 2017

WHEN IN TEXAS: Dempsey Ties Donovan as U.S. MNT All-Time Leading Scorer

Growing up in Nacodogches, Texas, Clint Dempsey and his parents used to drive more than three hours each way so he could train and play with elite youth club Dallas Texans. For Dempsey, all the travel and hard work was done with an aim towards one day playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team at a World Cup.

With trips to three different tournaments and a running tally of 135 international caps, he more than achieved that goal. In Saturday's 2-0 Gold Cup Semifinal win vs. Costa Rica, the veteran striker added another major accolade to his decorated career as he drove home an 82nd minute free kick to tally his 57th career international goal, tying Landon Donovan for the most in U.S. MNT history. He accomplished the feat in front of numerous friends and family in Dallas, where his golden years of development occurred.

While the record was something he began aiming for a few years ago, the heart condition that ailed him in the second half of 2016 gave him major doubts. Having overcome that, the record is even sweeter now.

“For me the biggest thing is being able to come back from two heart procedures and to still be playing at this level,” he told ussoccer.com following the USA’s 2-0 Gold Cup Semifinal win vs. Costa Rica. “I didn’t know if I was going to have much time left to be playing the game, and to be able to tell my kids that right now I’m tied for the most goals ever scored for my country -- for me, it was always trying to play in a World Cup and represent your country, but to be able to play in three World Cups and say that I’m one of the leading goal scorers all-time for the U.S., that’s something that’s very special.”

Coming off the bench in the 66th minute, Dempsey didn’t just score the second goal.He also provided the offensive spark and assist which sent the USA on the way to its 10th Gold Cup Final. Just six minutes after entering the match, the veteran forward unlocked the Costa Rica defense with a tidy pass that gave Jozy Altidore a clean lane to goal for the opener in the 72nd minute.

“In the second half I thought Clint did a good job in terms of carving out a quality chance and we took advantage of it,” Altidore said. “It’s definitely a luxury to bring in a guy who is looking to break the record, one of the all-time best players we’ve ever produced. To bring him off the bench when he still has something to give to us, I think that’s pretty big.”

Having managed minutes throughout the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Dempsey said U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena spoke to him about the decision to bring him off the bench against Costa Rica, a role he fully accepted coming off a full 90-minute output in the 2-0 Quarterfinal win against El Salvador just three days prior. 

“It’s always difficult three days after playing 90 minutes to try to start and play another 90 minutes. When you’re at 34 it’s difficult,” Dempsey said. “Bruce told me that he knew the game was going to be tight and the second half it would open up. He thought I could be someone to come on and make a difference and he was right. When I went out there I just tried to play with confidence, tried to move the ball forward, create for others and create for myself and got into good spots tonight.”

The positions he got in helped push the U.S. to a record 10th CONCACAF Gold Cup Final and put Dempsey on the doorstep of some serious MNT history. Dempsey’s 57 career goals place him third among active international goal scorers, sitting behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (75) and Lionel Messi (58). With his next, not only will Dempsey tie the Barcelona and Argentina great, but also surpass former teammate Donovan, setting a new mark that’s unlikely to be broken for some time. At the moment, he's arrived 57 goals in 19 less caps than the U.S. MNT legend did. 

“I couldn’t be happier, could be more proud to be on the field with him,” U.S. MNT captain Michael Bradley said of Dempsey’s output. “He’s a guy who leaves his heart and soul on the field every time he plays for the National Team. For me personally, the chance to be on the field with him on so many big days is something that I’ll always remember. I think for all of us, the fact that he was able to get this goal tonight in Texas – I know he had a lot of family here – is really special.

For now, Dempsey and the U.S. MNT’s main focus will be winning the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. While a record-breaking goal in the championship match would be storybook in so many ways, lifting the trophy remains the priority.

“I’ve played in three finals,” Dempsey said. “It’ll be great for us to win a trophy on home soil. It’s an opportunity for us to keep building the confidence going into the next four games of World Cup Qualifying and making sure we put ourselves in a position to qualify for Russia.”

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MNT Jul 23, 2017
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