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USA blowout Costa Rica 4-0 in Copa America Centenario must-win

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Men's National Team responded to a disheartening loss vs. Colombia in emphatic fashion, as goals from Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Graham Zusi helped the U.S. blowout Costa Rica 4-0 at Soldier Field Tuesday night, taking the pressure off a team that would have been dumped out of the Copa America Centenario on home soil with a loss.

Facing the heat from fans, the media and even criticism from the usually reserved Sunil Gulati, Klinsmann put out the same starting 11 against Columbia. 

Costa Rica started off brightly. Five minutes in, DeAndre Yedlin sliced a clearance right into the path of Joel Campbell on the top of the box, and a more accurate shot would have doomed the U.S. early.

But it would be the Americans who would pull up front. In the 9th minute, Bobby Wood did well off a corner kick to find himself alone in the box and draw a foul, and Clint Dempsey stepped up to send Patrick Pemberton the wrong way and lift the pressure off the shoulders of the players.

After the goal, Clint Dempsey started to drop back and collect the ball to devastating effect. After setting Gyasi Zardes and Jermaine Jones up with golden chances, Jones would not be denied again, doing brilliantly to athletically lay the ball off to Dempsey in the midfield before streaking forward, collecting again from Dempsey and passing a low curler into the bottom right corner.

Five minutes later, the U.S. would add a third when the excellent Dempsey drew multiple defenders in isolation before locating Wood in the box, and Wood executed a textbook turn before shuffling a low blast past Pemberton to secure the victory.

Both teams would exchange close calls in the second half, but it was the Americans padding their lead late, as subsitute Graham Zusi won the ball off a Costa Rica defender, coasted into the area and slotted a left footed finish past the keeper to put the exclamation point on a comprehensive win.