GUADALAJARA, MEXICO (March 18, 2021) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team used a first half goal from Jesus Ferreira and a stellar performance from goalkeeper David Ochoa to defeat Costa Rica 1-0 in both teams’ opening match of the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.
Playing at altitude under a midday sun and with the temperature approaching 90 degrees at Estadio Jalisco, the USA nearly opened the scoring just minutes after the opening whistle. Costa Rica defender Fernán Faerron attempted to bring a ball out of his own area, but U.S. forward Jesus Ferreira applied pressure and picked the ball off at the top of the box. Ferreira took a touch forward and struck a shot past advancing goalkeeper Kevin Chomoro but unfortunately hit off the left post.
While Costa Rica’s Adrian Martinez found two early solid chances on goal, Ochoa was up for the challenge, each time coming off his line to cut off Martinez’s angles and deny point-blank shots from close range.
Ferreira then provided what proved to be the game-winner just past the half hour mark. U-23 USMNT left back Sam Vines deftly brought down a pass on the left flank and sent in a low cross that got past three players, leaving the on-rushing Ferreira to hit a first-time shot at the far post to break the deadlock.
Chasing the game, Costa Rica took the attacking initiative for much of the second half, but Ochoa remained sharp, denying Randall Leal with a fantastic diving save and easily handling a number of long-range shots on goal. The USA nearly doubled its lead when Hassani Dotson worked a give-and-go with Jonathan Lewis to spring Ferreira, who tried to flick a ball over Chamoro but was denied.
The U-23 USMNT will next face Dominican Republic on Sunday, March 21 (7:00 p.m.; FS1, TUDN) and finish the group stage vs. Mexico on Wednesday, March 24 (9:30 p.m.; FS1, TUDN).
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Jesus Ferreira (Sam Vines), 35th minute:The U-23 USMNT broke the deadlock with ten minutes to play in the first half when Ferreira slammed home a shot at the far post from 14 yards out. The play began with left center back Mauricio Pineda advancing a ball from midfield to the left flank, where Sam Vines did well to deftly bring it down and take a few touches forward. The left back whipped in a cross and USA forward Hassani Dotson made a near-post run, bringing a defender with him. The ball went past both and was met by the on-rushing Ferreira who one-timed it past the goalkeeper.USA 1, CRC 0
KEY SAVES AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS
USA – David Ochoa, 7th minute:Costa Rica’s Adrian Martinez got behind the left side of the U.S. defense and ran towards goal unmarked. As he approached the right post, Ochoa timed his jump off the line well and made himself big to deny the point-blank attempt.
USA – David Ochoa, 17th minute:Martinez picked off a weak U.S. pass and race towards goal. As he entered the box, the forward cut twice to evade center backs Mauricio Pineda and Justin Glad before shooting with his left foot. Anticipating the play, Ochoa raced off his line and made himself big, taking the shot off his chest at the penalty spot to keep the game scoreless.
USA – David Ochoa, 47th minute:Costa Rica forward Randall Leal received a ball inside the USA area with time. Turning to his right, Leal fired a shot from the right across his body heading to the far post, but Ochoa remained sharp and made a fantastic save, diving to his right to parry the shot out for a corner.
This was the USA’s third meeting with Costa Rica in Concacaf Olympic qualifying. The previous two times both came in 1980. The USA defeated Los Ticos 1-0 in San Jose on March 20 before drawing the Central American country 1-1 in Edwardsville, Ill. on March 25.
Jackson Yueill served as the team captain, as elected by players and coaches ahead of the tournament.
All 11 U.S. starters play professionally in Major League Soccer.
Head coach Jason Kreis used all five allowed substitutions in the second half, bringing on Andrés Perea, Sebastian Saucedo, Seastian Soto, Julian Araujo and Johnny Cardoso.
- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match:U.S. Uner-23 Men’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date:March 18, 2021
Competition:Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship – Group Stage
Venue:Estadio Jalisco; Guadalajara, Mexico
Kickoff:5:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. local time
Weather:86 degrees; sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
CRC 0 0 0
USA – Jesús Ferreira (Sam Vines) 35thminute
USA:20-David Ochoa; 17-Aaron Herrera, 4-Justen Glad, 5-Mauricio Pineda, 13-Sam Vines; 18-Hassani Dotson (16-Johnny Cardoso, 82), 6-Jackson Yueill (capt.), 8-Djordje Mihailovic (15-Andres Perea, 59); 14-Benji Michel (10-Sebastian Saucedo, 59), 9-Jesús Ferreira (19-Sebastian Soto, 67), 7-Jonathan Lewis (2-Julian Araujo, 83)
Substitutes not used: 1-James Marcinkowski, 3-Henry Kessler, 11-Tanner Tessmann, 12-Matthew Freese
Head coach: Jason Kreis
CRC: 13-Kevin Chamorro; 4-Ian Smith, 19-Fernan Faerron, 2-Aaron Salazar, 3-Yurguin Roman; 16-Adrian Martinez (20-Jimmy Marín, 71), 8-Bernald Alfaro, 5-Jefferson Brenes (9-Jurguens Montenegro, 60), 10-Randall Leal (7-Marvin Loría, 71), 11-Luis Diaz; 14-Manfred Ugalde (17-Gerson Torres, 60)
Substitutes not used: 1-Adonis Pineda, 18-Patrick Sequeira, 6-Luis Hernández, 12-Kevin Espinoza, 15-Alexis Gamboa
Head coach: Douglas Sequeira
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 7 / 19
Shots on Goal: 2 / 8
Saves: 8 / 1
Corner Kicks: 1 / 8
Fouls: 19 / 14
Offside: 1 / 1
CRC – Bernald Alfaro (caution) 12thminute
USA – Justen Glad (caution) 20
CRC – Luis Diaz (caution) 62
CRC – Fernán Faerrón (caution) 82
Referee: Said MARTINEZ (HON)
AR1: Walter LOPEZ (HON)
AR2: Henri PUPIRO (NCA)
4th Official: Mario ESCOBAR (GUA)