U.S. MNT Moves into Second Place in Hexagonal, Tops Costa Rica 1-0 in Final Round World Cup Qualifying at Sold-Out Dick’s Sporting Goods ParkDempsey Captains USA to Important Three Points in Second Match of Hexagonal; Now Tied for First Place on MNT All-Time World Cup Qualifying Scoring List
Dempsey Captains USA to Important Three Points in Second Match of Hexagonal; Now Tied for First Place on MNT All-Time World Cup Qualifying Scoring List
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan Earns Fourth-Career WCQ Shutout
USA Improves WCQ Home Unbeaten Streak to 23 Games at 21-0-2
U.S. MNT Resumes 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on March 26 against Mexico at Estadio Azteca; Game will be Broadcast Live on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision at 10:30 p.m. ET
U.S. forward Clint Dempsey, who was named the team captain by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for this match and Tuesday’s clash with Mexico, scored his 32 nd-career goal in the 16th minute. With seven goals in this cycle, he has tied Landon Donovan at the top of the USA’s all-time list for goals in World Cup qualifying. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, starting for the injured Tim Howard, made five saves for his fourth-career shutout in World Cup Qualifying.
With the win, the USA (1-1-0, 3 points) moved into second place in the Hexagonal, one point behind Honduras (1-0-1, 4 points).
The USA improved its World Cup Qualifying unbeaten streak at home to 23 games (21-0-2) and 42-6-12 all-time in home qualifying matches.
The U.S. resumes World Cup Qualifying when it faces Mexico on Tuesday, March 26, at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The game kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision. Fans can also follow the game online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
Earlier Friday in the Hexagonal, Honduras rallied from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Mexico (0-0-2, 2 points) at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Panama (0-0-2, 2 points) and Jamaica (0-0-2, 2 points) played to a 1-1 draw at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
Wearing their Nike Centennial kit for the first time in celebration of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 100-year anniversary, the USA’s white jerseys at times got lost in the heavy snow. Even with a tremendous effort throughout the match from the Dick’s Sports Goods Park grounds crew, who continually cleared snow off the sidelines, goal lines and penalty area lines, the conditions worsened steadily over the course of 90 minutes.
The match became a battle of wills and it was the USA that got the crucial first goal just 16 minutes into the match. Jozy Altidore received a pass near the left side of the penalty area and took a touch to the inside before firing a shot from 19 yards out that was deflected by Costa Rica defender Roy Miller. Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas was moving toward the left post and was caught far out of position on the deflection, which bounced perfectly to Dempsey, who crisply tapped in from close range to give the United States a 1-0 lead.
The goal was Dempsey’s seventh of this World Cup Qualifying cycle, moving him ahead of Costa Rica’s Alvaro Saborio for tops in CONCACAF. His 12th career World Cup Qualifying goal also placed him in a tie with Landon Donovan for first place on the USA’s all-time list.
Costa Rica’s first shot on goal came in the 38th minute off the foot of Bryan Oviedo, but his strike from the left side went directly to Guzan who caught it and held it securely on the snowy turf.
The United States, which held more than 60 percent of the possession in the first half, probed for a second goal just before halftime. In the 42nd minute, Dempsey appeared to have been tripped up in the box by Miller, but play went on. Later in the sequence, Dempsey mustered a shot that was deflected out for a U.S. corner kick.
In the 55th minute, played was stopped momentarily as the FIFA’s match commissioner and Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar met on the sidelines, surrounded by players from both teams, to discuss the playing conditions. The referee directed the grounds crew to clean the snow off the lines and ordered play to continue.
Guzan was tremendously composed in the perilous conditions throughout the match en route to the clean sheet. In the 60th minute, Saborio took a shot from a tough angle from the right side and Guzan stayed low for the save. The ball bounced away from him just a bit but he quickly smothered to prevent any possibility of a rebound.
Costa Rica briefly thought it had the equalizer in the 70th minute when defender Michael Umaña headed the ball off the inside of the left post and across the goal line. The goal was correctly waved off as several Costa Rican players were in an offside position when the cross was served, and the USA maintained a one-goal lead the rest of the way as snow continued to pile up on the pitch.
The victory ended Costa Rica’s five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) against the U.S., while the USA improved to 42-6-12 in World Cup Qualifying home matches.
With his 32nd-career goal, Clint Dempsey is now only two goals behind second-place Eric Wynalda (34) and 17 behind all-time leader Landon Donovan (49).
DaMarcus Beasley earned his 98th-career cap and got the start at left back to become just the eighth player to appear in at least one National Team game for 13 consecutive years. Frankie Hejduk leads the group with 14 consecutive years with an appearance, while Beasley is tied for second with Marcelo Balboa, Donovan, Cobi Jones, Kasey Keller, Claudio Reyna and Earnie Stewart.
Beasley, who earned Man of the Match honors, made his first start at left back since the USA’s World Cup Qualifying 3-1 loss to Costa Rica on June 3, 2009, in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Omar Gonzalez is the only player on the MNT to have played and started in all three games this year. The defender has more than doubled his career caps, making his fifth international appearance on Friday.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made his sixth-career appearance in a World Cup Qualifying match and collected his 21st career international cap.
Dempsey made his team-leading 28th appearance in a World Cup Qualifying game. Beasley now has 27 career caps in WCQ matches.
The U.S. moved to 6-8-3 all-time in World Cup Qualifying and 12-12-6 overall in international play against Costa Rica.
The U.S. is now 4-1-0 all-time in Colorado and 2-0-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Four U.S. players on the roster are currently carrying yellow cards in World Cup qualifying: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu and Graham Zusi.
Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is now 12-7-5 at the helm of the U.S. MNT.
With his second-half yellow card, Costa Rica’s Roy Miller will miss his team’s next match against Jamaica.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date: March 22, 2013
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier; Final Round
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. MT
Attendance: 19,374 (sellout)
Weather: 29 degrees, snowy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
CRC 0 0 0
USA – Clint Dempsey 16th minute
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
CRC : 1-Keylor Navas, 2-Christian Gamboa (6-Juan Diego Madrigal, 81), 3-Giancarlo Gonzalez, 4-Michael Umaña, 7-Cristian Bolaños (12-Joel Campbell, 62), 8-Bryan Oviedo (16-Diego Calvo, 73), 9-Alvaro Saborio, 10-Bryan Ruiz (capt.), 11-Michael Barrantes, 13-Ariel Rodriguez, 19-Roy Miller
Subs not used: 18-Patrick Pemberton, 5-Celso Borges, 14-Christopher Meneses, 15-Osvaldo Rodriguez, 17-Yeltsin Tejeda, 20-Kendall Waston, 21-Keylor Soto, 22-Jairo Arrieta
Head coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 6 / 8
Shots on Goal: 1 / 5
Saves: 5 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 16 / 15
Offsides: 1 / 5
CRC – Roy Miller (caution) 49th minute
CRC – Giancarlo Gonzalez (caution) 90
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: William Torres (SLV)
Fourth Official: Marlon Mejía (SLV)
Budweiser Man of the Match: DaMarcus Beasley