The youngest ever team fielded by United States men’s national team in Concacaf World Cup qualifying was handed quite the trying task on Wednesday night, and they passed. Despite conceding in the first minute to Costa Rica, the Americans rallied with a goal in each half to secure a 2-1 win in Columbus, Ohio, earning three vital points.
With so many key players missing — Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna to name a few — Gregg Berhalter’s side responded to Sunday’s loss against Panama with arguably their most encouraging performance under the former Columbus Crew boss. While they perhaps didn’t create as many chances as they would have liked, there was a spark in this team that was absent last weekend. Despite making numerous changes to the starting lineup, the midfield of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah helped bring much-needed stability to a game that was all USA in the second half, while defender Sergino Dest recorded an amazing goal and was involved in the second goal, which was ruled as own goal.
Costa Rica’s star goalkeeper Keylor Navas went off at the break with what’s presumed to be an injury, and the hosts benefited on their second goal to earn their sixth point of the October window.
Here are three takeaways:
1. Dest was the difference going forward
The Barcelona defender continues to prove that he’s below average in defense and above it going forward. He was by far the most threatening player in attack, getting this absolutely incredible goal in the first half to draw level:
While showing off his flair, he got better as the game went on, despite being subbed off in the second half. He didn’t always stick in position, drifted into the middle and combined quite well with Weston McKennie. Not afraid to take his shot, he was more of a distributor in the second half, and it worked.
After a poor start to the game that saw him basically in a bad position on the goal, he, like his team, bounced back and answered the call when their backs were against the wall.
2. Navas sub fortunate for U.S.
Just before the second half started, it really felt like anybody’s game, especially because of Navas’ presence. But when he came off, it felt over. And when the USA’s best chance came, it was. Dest played Tim Weah through in the box, and the Lille man’s rifled shot hit off the post, off the goalkeeper and in. The own goal was given to goalkeeper Leonel Moreira, and I just can’t help to think that Navas would have saved this.
3. October window saved
Six points from this window is good enough. The U.S. probably planned on at least seven, but to bounce back like they did from the loss to Panama was quite encouraging. The defenders, for the most part, looked good. The midfield was dynamic and as creative as it has been, and if there was any issue it was that young star striker Ricardo Pepi didn’t get the chances he would have wanted in this last match. But with a young team, consistency should come with time.
Read More: USMNT vs. Costa Rica score: Sergino Dest stars in attack as Americans overcome 2021-10-14 01:31:00