CHICAGO, Sporting Alert – USA scored three goals in the first half en route to a commanding 4-0 victory over Costa Rica in a Copa America Group A game at Soldier Field on Tuesday night.
Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood all scored in the first half, before substitute Graham Zusi added a late finish in the second half.
Dempsey fired the U.S. in front the penalty spot in the 9th minute after Wood was fouled inside the penalty area.
After a long delay, because of a protest from the Costa Rican players, Dempsey, who picked up the ball immediately after the spot kick was given, coolly stepped up and beat goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton for his 50th international goal.
“It was important for us to get the early goal,” the forward said. “Once we got the second and third it became easier.”
Jones added a second for the hosts in the 37th minute with a right-footed shot from just outside the box, after Dempsey had worked his way into the Costa Rican area before over dribbling.
The ball fell politely for Jones on the edge of the 18-yard box and the midfielder struck it sweetly into the bottom corner past the outstretched Pemberton.
There was even more joy for Jurgen Klinsmann side three-minutes before the half-time break, after striker Wood turned inside the box and hammered home a third for the U.S., which took a comfortable 3-0 lead into the interval.
Dempsey, who hand a hand in all three first half goals, left the game to a standing ovation in the 78th minute.
Costa Rica made a few changes to start the second half and looked the stronger team in the second half, but were unable to bite into the deficit, as Zusi grabbed a fourth for the home side in the 88th minute.
USA were bouncing back from the 2-0 defeated suffered at the hands of Colombia in their opening Copa America Group A fixture.
The U.S. will play Paraguay in the third and final Group A game on Saturday in Philadelphia, while Costa Rica will meet Colombia in Houston on the same day.