The fixture sheet may have said Costa Rica v. USA. Gazing into the gray sky, the fluttering snowflakes told otherwise.
The US Men’s National Team defeated Costa Rica 1-0 Friday The game endured through bushels of snowfall throughout, as the Denver sky blanketed the pitch. Jurgen Klinsmann struggled to play a proper starting 11, with injuries bombarding the US manager.
The USA trotted out an 11 of Guzan, Gonzalez, Beasley, Cameron, Goodson, Bradley, Jones, Gomez, Dempsey, Zusi, and Altidore. Playing away and in extreme conditions, Costa Rica sought out to “park the bus,” and play for a draw. Having lost their first match of the hexagonal, team USA was desperate for victory.
Early on in the match, striker Jozy Altidore had done well to use pockets on the top of the box. His link up play with new captain Clint Dempsey began to open up the Costa Rican defense. That door was breached in the 16th minute, as Graham Zusi roared forward through the middle. Two passes later, Altidore fired a hopeful shot towards goal. It deflected off of the defender, and fell to Dempsey on the right side of the box. The captain dismissed the easy tap in, and tUSA led 1-0.
On eery stoppage, workers ran on to shovel off the heavy snow. In the second half, the referee considered abandoning the game, much to the frustration of fans. The teams played on, and the USA notched a much-needed win in the hexagonal. The US now holds the second of three automatic World Cup places, and is one point behind leaders Honduras. The Americans play Mexico Tuesday, 10:30 PM at Estadio Azteca.