Skip to content

What we learned from the United States national team’s Gold Cup win over Costa Rica

Jul 16, 2013, 10:58 PM EST

Shea came up clutch for the U.S. in the 2013 Gold Cup. But he needs regular soccer to have a chance of making Brazil. Getty Images

Brek Shea found some badly needed relief

Brek Shea’s late, game-winning finish was calm stuff, but far from perfect; had Ticos’ goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton stood his ground and not committed to his left, the big U.S. winger’s shot probably would have nailed him right in the chest.

Then again, it doesn’t matter. Shea (pictured) did what he does when at his best, seeing a chance to run directly at goal. And then he manufactured a moment that mattered, turning the opportunity into a goal – and strike that will help keep him in the World Cup roster conversation. He needed it something awful after that startling poor afternoon against Cuba.

As we keep saying, this tournament is really all about helping to assess which players are moving up in the depth chart ahead of next May’s important roster decision. Speaking of which …

Some players are running out of time

Alejandro Bedoya and Michael Parkhurst, combining along the U.S. right side, failed to do much at all. And that may be it for them, because the matches are only going to get tougher, and neither have made an impact on the tournament.

Jose Torres was useful in the middle for a half – he played nominally on the left, but spent most of the evening leaning well inside – but his influence faded after intermission. So, like a lot of U.S. men, his evening summation rated a solid “Meh.”

(MORE: United States nicks Costa Rica on a late goal)

Chris Wondolowski probably needed to be more active and find another portal or two into the impact creation zone. But two previous, encouraging performances means the San Jose Earthquakes striker has more wiggle room. One unproductive night won’t kill him at this point.

Generally, the United States lacked for ideas on the attack. The contest begged for some problem solving; Costa Rica’s 5-4-1 was tough stuff to break down, especially on a warm, muggy night that demanded a certain efficiency in movement off the ball.

Stuart Holden still has a long way to go

The Bolton midfielder played all 90 minutes, and that’s a huge step. But his recovery remains a clear work in progress.

Holden’s technical work in the midfield was fine. It’s not like he lost the ball a lot or failed to track or “hid” behind opponents the way players leaking confidence sometimes will. But his choices on the ball tell a tale of flagging aggression, of timing that just isn’t where it needs to be. Overall, there is just a smidge of lacking confidence.

Too many of his passes were safe, and too many opportunities to drive forward from the central midfield areas were passed over. Again, this isn’t a deal-killer. He’s just not there yet.

Who had good nights in the U.S. shirt?

Beyond Shea’s big moment … Clarence Goodson had a decent enough night in the back, organizing the back line, steering away a few dangerous balls and joining the attack periodically. Michael Orozco, playing alongside, proved dependable enough.

Mix Diskerud, playing alongside Holden in the middle of a 4-4-2, was easily the better of the central pairing. Torres, as noted earlier, was influential in possession over the first 45. And Donovan had a nice moment here and there, none better than his savvy, early ball that put Shea clean through.

Young goalkeeper Sean Johnson made the big save that mattered, but his communication with the back line looked dodgy, as did a couple of choices on getting off his line.

Latest Posts
  1. Jose Mourinho says his Chelsea team “were brothers on the pitch” in crucial win

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:52 PM EST

    Blues battle to hard-fought win at West Ham, as Mourinho hails his sides display.

  2. Van Gaal hails win over Newcastle as “maybe our best match of the season”

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:38 PM EST

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Manchester United needed a gift from opposing goalkeeper Tim Krul, but Louis van Gaal loved his club’s performance on Wednesday.

  3. Roberto Martinez blames fatigue for Everton’s struggles; have “10 cup finals” to survive

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:37 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-FA CUP-EVERTON-WEST HAM Getty Images

    After their 12th defeat of the season, the Toffees after sinking towards the bottom three.

  4. Liverpool 2-0 Burnley: Reds cruise with Henderson at the helm

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:10 PM EST

    21a48a639b225b2f6c349a47a6799b1d Getty Images

    Burnley’s loss leaves them 19th, in the drop zone with 22 points.

  5. Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Swansea City: Lloris saves it late for Spurs

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Swansea sit ninth with 40 points, while Spurs sit 7th place. Tottenham is four points behind No. 5 Liverpool.

  6. Stoke City 2-0 Everton: Moses, Diouf pile more misery on the Toffees

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    Potters continue to climb up the table, as Toffees head in the opposite direction.

  7. West Ham United 0-1 Chelsea: Hazard’s header enough for league leaders

    Mar 4, 2015, 4:53 PM EST

    Chelsea stay top after hard-fought win at Upton Park.

  8. Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Arsenal: Red-hot Giroud helps Gunners to win

    Mar 4, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    Queens Park Rangers v Arsenal - Premier League Getty Images

    It’s now five goals from his last five games for the Frenchman.

  9. Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United: Krul gaffe spoils Jonas return

    Mar 4, 2015, 4:40 PM EST

    TIm Krul Getty Images

    Manchester United remains fourth, one point behind third place Arsenal, while Newcastle is still comfortably in 11th place with 35 points.

  10. LIVE – Premier League, at the half: Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool ahead

    Mar 4, 2015, 3:49 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-CHELSEA FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-CHELSEA

    Seven games are going on in the PL on Wednesday, watch the second half of every match right here.

  11. Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis stretchered off the pitch after appearing to collapse

    Mar 4, 2015, 3:09 PM EST

    Gomis Getty Images

    Swansea’s French striker carried off the pitch after appearing to collapse at White Hart Lane.

  12. Agent says Dani Alves “in advanced talks” with other club

    Mar 4, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    463262876 Getty Images

    Dani Alves is all but out at Barcelona, but where will the Brazilian back end up?

  13. Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Burnley (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:28 PM EST

    Burnley v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    The Reds are unbeaten in their last 11 league matches, a run they will look to continue against a Burnley side sitting in the drop zone.

  14. Watch Live: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Swansea City (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:16 PM EST

    Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

    Only one spot separates the two sides on the table, giving every point some added value at White Hart Lane.

  15. Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Everton (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-QPR FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-QPR

    Who will win the battle of the USMNTers. Geoff Cameron or Tim Howard?

  16. Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Leicester City (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:07 PM EST

    Kompany Getty Images

    Can the Citizens keep their faint title hopes alive? Watch live online, here.

  17. Watch Live: Queens Park Rangers vs. Arsenal (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:04 PM EST

    Arsenal v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League Getty Images

    It’s a top-three vs. bottom-three battle as the Gunners travel to Loftus Road to face a QPR side fighting for Premier League survival.