The United States Men’s National Team completed a three game sweep of Group C in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup this evening of Jul. 16, 2013. With two strong victories over Belize and Cuba the USMNT faced their biggest test of the tournament thus far with a showdown with Costa Rica.
With the most organized defense that the young and veteran squad of Jurgan Klinsmann have faced, it looked like the match was heading for a 0-0 draw. However, thanks to some late heroics from Stoke City midfielder Brek Shea and none other than Landon Donovan, the USMNT took the lead in the 82nd minute and held on for three points.
After having already achieved to crushing victories it was important that the home team of the tournament made a statement in their final group stage match. While San Jose Earthquake striker Chris Wondolowski had been the hot foot for the USA in the tournament, he was held at bay all night.
Both sides already had secured their place in the next stage and it was a relatively uneventful match for the majority of the first hour, but it seemed that with time left you could sense that Klinsmann wanted the USA to make a breakthrough.
As the match went on the midfield battles for possession continued to intensify and the final half hour saw some hard tackles and the USA pushing for the lead.
Veteran forward Landon Donovan has been impressing throughout the tournament as he looks to find his place once again in the preferred 23-man squad of Klinsmann and his desire showed late in the match as he was the man that set up Shea’s go-ahead goal.
USA goalkeeper Sean Johnson made an excellent save off a brilliant corner kick that saw defender Joe Corona clear the ball down the pitch to Donovan. The forward took the ball in stride and saw freshly introduced Shea sprinting down the middle of the attacking third.
Donovan picked out Shea in stride and the lanky 23-year-old Texan blasted a shot from the top of the 18-yard box passed Patrick Pemberton. Shea’s first international goal could not have come at a better time.
It was a great night for the USA as it proved they have some fight in them even when it is not the primary stars of the nation and Jurgen Klinsmann looks one step closer to his first piece of silverware in CONCACAF competition.
The USMNT will next face El Salvador in the next round in hopes of continuing their quest to reclaim the Gold Cup as their own for the first time since 2007.
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