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USMNT Dismantles Costa Rica In Friendly At Rio Tinto Stadium

Reggie Cannon #20 of the United States celebrates a goal during a game against Costa Rica at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 09, 2021 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The USMNT have survived their final test of the early summer international window with a friendly victory over Costa Rico at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“I certainly think that this week has brought the group together,” Berhalter said during his post-game press conference. “Really proud of the guys, I think we took a step forward but now it is about continuing.”

Cracking First Half From The Hosts

Manager Gregg Berhalter opted for a changed starting XI that took on Mexico in the Nations League final earlier in the week as Christian Pulisic, Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie, and Gio Reyna all found themselves on the bench.

That didn’t stop the USA from attacking with prowess and aggression, however. It only took the hosts six minutes to find the back of the net and open the scoring when 20-year-old midfielder Brendon Aaronson pounced onto a loose ball in the area and rocketed his shot into the top of the net.

The sequence building up to the goal was beautiful when Antonee Robinson fed a ball into the feet of Daryl Dike who lost control of the ball, only for it to fall to Aaronson.

Then with minutes left in the first half, the USMNT doubled their lead after Daryl Dike opened his international goal-scoring account. Dike found himself one-on-one with Costa Rican goalkeeper Leonel Moreira after center back Mark McKenzie played a majestic through ball into Dike who was in no rush before slotting the USA’s second home.

Half Time Adjustments

Berhalter then opted to take McKenzie off at halftime after he appeared to cop a knock during the first half. He was replaced by Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman.

The USA began the second half much like they ended the first half, with a goal. This time it was Reggie Cannon who danced around Costa Rican defenders and used the inside of his left foot to slot the ball into the back of the net for the host’s third.

It was a dismantling at Rio Tinto Stadium. The USMNT could do no wrong.

But that is not where the damage ended. Berhalter opted to bring in Gio Reyna in the 74th minute for Tim Weah and Reyna’s impact was felt immediately. Just three minutes later, Reyna was clipped inside the area and won himself and his country a penalty. Reyna opted to take the penalty and convincingly gave team USA a 4-0 advantage.

Much Needed Rest

The USMNT has endured a chaotic stretch of three games over the past week. They went undefeated in all three contests and took home silverware in doing so. Now, America’s best players will be rewarded with a month-long rest before they embark on this summer’s Gold Cup ambitions.

Their next fixture will be on July 11 at Children’s Mercy Park to open their Gold Cup ambitions. They will play all three group stage games between July 11-18.