Dempsey: USMNT ready for “must-win” match vs. Costa Rica


by Deny Gallagher

The United States Men’s National Team look to get back on track in their second match of the Copa America Centenario, when they take on Costa Rica in Chicago on Tuesday night.

Ahead of the matchup at Solider Field the side remains confident that they control their own destiny. Some players, including defender John Brooks, took aim at the criticism fans and media have directed toward the side over the weekend.

“Everybody is a little bit too much our critics,” Brooks told the media on Sunday. “I think the game that we saw (against Colombia) and that we played was ok. We got caught on two set pieces. It’s little bit bad but we’re still in the (tournament). Costa Rica and Paraguay tied, so everything is open for us.”

While Brooks’ words hold merit, what fans view as a team wide complacency may in fact be supreme confidence. This past March the United States were facing a similar “must-win” situation in World Cup Qualifying and came out on top against Guatemala. That experience may prove to be invaluable in the first major tournament of this cycle.

“Everybody’s ready for (Tuesday’s) game,” said Clint Dempsey. “It’s a must-win situation. Our backs are against the wall. We’ve been there before.”

As for manager Jurgen Klinsmann, he continues to take the long view ahead of the second match in the tournament. The former German striker didn’t reveal much during his Monday afternoon media session, but did shed a light on his perspective ahead of Costa Rica.

“I mean, we were totally even. We didn’t give them anything,” said Klinsmann. “It’s really important for our players to see that they’re absolutely beatable, that they come out of this game and say, ‘O.K., you know what? Give the three points to them. But it’s absolutely no problem going forward to say we play Costa Rica to get three points and we play Paraguay to get three points and then we’re in the quarterfinals.’ The message overall is positive to the players even though we’re obviously disappointed we didn’t get any points.”

With so much to play for, the opening minutes of Tuesday’s game could be telling. Given the spirit in the camp over the last few days, wholesale changes from don’t appear to be imminent.

Kickoff is slated for 8PM and the match can be seen on FS1, UniMAS, and UDN.