Evaluating United States Victory Over Costa Rica

By Duncan Day
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We have seen the U.S. Men’s National Team fall apart against small countries before, including a 2-1 loss against Honduras this past February. Since that time, however, the United States have stepped up their game, as they currently boast an 8-2-2 record in their last 12 matches. A superior Belgium team defeated the U.S. back in April, but a few days later, the Americans would follow that defeat with a stunning 4-3 victory over Germany in Washington D.C.

Yesterday, the U.S. took down Costa Rica 1-0 in a significant 2013 CONCACAF Cup match and Jurgen Klinnsman’s squad didn’t look past the Costa Rican attack that is spearheaded by stellar MLS forwards Jairo Arrieta and Alvaro Saborio. The U.S. defense, surprisingly, held very strong despite its overall shakiness in the past few games. Clarence Goodson did a great job confidently anchoring the back line with Michael Orozco, DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Parkhurst. For the most part, this U.S. back line was well-positioned and ready to stymie the Costa Rican attack. However, I want to see this group of defenders become more involved in pushing the United States’ offensive attack forward.

The U.S. midfield was not moving the ball forward very well, as the only exceptional passing from the American midfield occurred when Brek Shea scored the game-winner. In the 82nd minute, Joe Corona fed a nice long pass to Landon Donovan, who would provide the streaking Shea with an excellent ball to the ice the game. This goal was sweet for all U.S. soccer fans, but a major issue that has been plaguing U.S. soccer for a while was very noticeable in this match: consistency in the midfield.

Although the U.S. falls short to many of the world’s elite soccer teams when it comes to players’ speed, the Americans could truly compete in the 2014 World Cup if they established a consistent buildup, one that is filled with long, accurate passes in their own end and short, quick give-and-go’s just outside of their opponent’s box.

Many people wondered if San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski could keep his goal streak alive against Costa Rica. Unfortunately, Wondolowski had a frustrating night, pushing hard for goal but coming up with few meaningful scoring opportunities. At one point, Wondo seemed well on his way to making the United States’ World Cup roster, but now, he is slightly set back because of his poor performance. He should make a strong case to make the World Cup team against El Salvador on Sunday.

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