U.S. keep their Copa hopes alive vs. Costa Rica: Here's how they did it
The United States scored three goals in the first half against Costa Rica and didn't look back, winning 4-0 in front of nearly 40,000 fans at Soldier Field in Chicago on Tuesday. It was the first U.S. win in Copa América play since a 3-0 decision on July 14, 1995, against Argentina.
After Friday's 2-0 loss against Colombia, the United States' chance to advance out of Group A dropped from 57.5 percent chance to a 38 percent chance, according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index. But Tuesday's win nudged it back up to a healthy 72.1 percent.
So what changed?
- In its first game against Colombia, the United States registered 54 touches and three chances created in the first half. Against Costa Rica, the U.S. doubled its chances created and had 71 touches.
- U.S. captain Clint Dempsey was more effective in the final third. He created five chances against Costa Rica after failing to create a single goal scoring opportunity versus Colombia. He also registered two assists for his first multiassist game in a competitive tournament for his country.
- Against Colombia, the United States registered one shot on target out of 12 shots taken, its lowest total in its previous 31 games. (They managed one versus Honduras on Oct. 14, 2014.) It took just nine minutes for the U.S. to match that total against Costa Rica, as Dempsey scored from the penalty spot.
- 41.7 percent (five of 12) of U.S. shots hit the target against Costa Rica. Just 8.3 percent (one of 12) of the shots hit the target against Colombia.
- John-Anthony Brooks led the defensive charge against Costa Rica, recording 11 of the 31 U.S. clearances -- the U.S. team total against Colombia. As a team against Costa Rica, the U.S. recorded 16 tackles, more than double its total against Colombia (seven).