Dempsey makes history as United States beats Costa Rica in Gold Cup semi
Clint Dempsey tied the U.S. men's all-time scoring record and Jozy Altidore scored the winner as the United States beat Costa Rica 2–0 in the Gold Cup semifinal on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas. The result means the U.S. will play the 2017 Gold Cup final on Wednesday in Santa Clara, California, where they will face the winner of the Jamaica vs. Mexico semifinal, which takes place on Sunday.
The match was given a bit of historical importance late in the game as Clint Dempsey tied Landon Donovan's goal scoring record with his 57th international strike. This one came on a sneakily-taken freekick from outside the box:
Earlier, Dempsey played provider as he slipped a beautiful ball through the Costa Rica defense to set up Jozy Altidore, who finished well to give the U.S. a 1–0 lead:
Before the goals, though, the U.S. struggled to break through a Costa Rica defense that had only conceded once in their four games of the tournament.
Jozy Altidore, attempted a shot from distance in the 65th minute, but Patrick Pemberton came up with an easy save for Costa Rica:
Darlington Nagbe nearly had a chance to break the deadlock just after the start of the second half, but the midfielder simple wasn't ready for the ball to fall to him:
Costa Rica didn't create much in the way of scoring opportunities through the game's opening minutes, but Marco Ureña broke through for a chance in the 37th minute that was saved by Tim Howard:
Kellyn Acosta put a good chance over the bar after some quick, incisive buildup play from Jordan Morris and Jozy Altidore:
Before that, on the sideline, Bruce Arena had some choice words for the ball kids:
It didn't take long for Jordan Morris to make an impact, smacking the woodwork just 15 seconds into the game:
U.S. coach Bruce Arena made five changes to his starting lineup for the contest, rolling out what is expected to be a 4–4–2 formation:
Costa Rica, meanwhile, rolled out a defensive-looking 5–4–1:
The Americans struggled more than expected in what was considered to be an easy draw in Group B, drawing 1–1 with Panama to open the tournament before eking out a 3–2 win over Martinique, a team made up primarily of amateur players. The U.S. finished with a 3–0 win over Nicaragua, before calling in reinforcements as allowed by CONCACAF rules. U.S. captain Michael Bradley joined goalkeeper Tim Howard, strikers Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, and midfielder Darlington Nagbe to the American squad. With them in the fold, the U.S. survived their own uneven performance to beat El Salvador 2–0 in the quarterfinals.