Clint Dempsey had a goal and two assists in the first half, and the U.S. team rebounded from its opening loss in Copa America with a convincing 4-0 victory over Costa Rica. Dempsey, who plays for the Sounders, has 50 goals for the national team.
CHICAGO – Fans stood and cheered when Clint Dempsey headed off the field in the second half, and the forward responded with his own round of applause.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan held his arms in the air after the final seconds.
After days of questions and criticism, it was a couple of perfect pictures for the United States.
Dempsey had a goal and two assists in the first half, and the U.S. team rebounded from its opening loss in Copa America with a convincing 4-0 victory over Costa Rica on Tuesday night before 39,642 at Soldier Field.
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“Goals change games, and the guys up front took care of that,” said Guzan, who posted his 16th international shutout.
Dempsey, who plays for the Sounders in Major League Soccer, scored his 50th goal for the United States and is second on the U.S. all-time list behind retired Landon Donovan (57).
“You know where you kind of are in terms of the goals you’ve scored for the team,” said Dempsey, who connected on a penalty kick in the ninth minute. “Yeah, it’s good to be part of that club of getting to 50 goals. But the most important thing is, we got the win tonight.”
Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood scored in the first half and substitute Graham Zusi added another goal in the 87th minute as the U.S. team moved into prime position to grab one of two spots in the knockout round coming out of Group A in South America’s championship tournament.
In another Group A match, Colombia guaranteed it will advance by beating Paraguay 2-1 before 42,766 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Colombia, which is ranked third in the world and beat the No. 31 United States 2-0 in the opener Friday, has six points — three more than the U.S. team. Paraguay and Costa Rica each have a point.
A victory over 44th-ranked Paraguay on Saturday in Philadelphia would guarantee the U.S. team of getting to the quarterfinals.
A loss to 23rd-ranked Costa Rica would have eliminated the U.S. team on the fifth day of the tournament.
“I see a team progressing. I see a team that badly wants to prove itself with these caliber teams in the Copa America,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “It was a very, very encouraging performance by us against Colombia. Obviously, the result, especially here in the U.S., that’s all that matters to a lot of people. … The team, they know where they stand.”
The loss to Colombia ramped up criticism of Klinsmann, who said last month the team’s Copa goal was at least the semifinals.
U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati told media before the match recent results for team “haven’t been what we would have hoped for, especially in the official competitions.”
But Klinsmann and his players insisted they felt good about the Colombia match, and the coach doubled down on the positive vibe by sending out the same starters against Costa Rica.