USA 2, Costa Rica 0 | 2019 International Friendly Match Recap
The US national team concluded their annual January training camp with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica at Avaya Stadium on Saturday.
USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter made two changes to the starting lineup from last week's 3-0 win over Panama, with Wil Trapp and Paul Arriola entering for Michael Bradley and Jeremy Ebobisse, respectively.
After a first half in which both teams worked hard but attacking fluency was hard to find, the US had a great chance early in the second half, with hometown player Nick Lima hitting a diagonal curler on the half-volley, but his shot pinged off the post. The US continued to pile on the pressure, but Costa Rica held firm.
Corey Baird had a close-range header from a Sebastian Lletget cross that sailed just over the goal in the 69th minute. But Lletget made the breakthrough, as his headed goal off fellow substitute Jonathan Lewis' cross beat Ticos goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado from a very narrow angle in the 80th minute.
Paul Arriola then added a second goal, as a throughball from Lletget was chipped in as Arriola was upended by Alvarado on the chance.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This game showed that after a fairly perfunctory win over Panama, the process of instilling Berhalter's style of play remains a work in progress. The good news is that after a first half in which the USMNT hustled but lacked incisive play, they improved on that front in the second half and were very much the better team. And that effort was rewarded with the late goals.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Has to be the second goal, with the theatrics that came with it. Luckily Arriola looked no worse for the wear.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Lletget came off the bench and helped turn the game, with a goal and an assist to deliver the win. Not a bad shift.
- USA: Thursday, March 21 vs. Ecuador (8 pm ET | ESPN 2, UniMás, UDN)