Jozy Altidore fired the US national team into the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Saturday, as his second-half tally helped earn the US a 2-0 win over Costa Rica at AT&T Stadium.
Jordan Morris nearly opened the scoring for the USMNT seconds into the match, but his shot bounced off the post. Tim Howard made a crucial save on Marco Urena's attempt against the run of play in the 37th minute. Howard made another big stop on Urena in the 71st minute to keep the match scoreless.
Moments later, Altidore opened the scoring, taking a feed from Clint Dempsey and poking it just past Patrick Pemberton. Dempsey then added an insurance tally, and tied the all-time USMNT scoring record, with a direct free kick in the 82nd minute.
The US will meet Jamaica in the Gold Cup final on Wednesday.
72' – USA – Jozy Altidore Watch
82' – USA – Clint Dempsey Watch
CONCACAF Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey
- HIGHER LEVEL: After a scrappy quarterfinal win over El Salvador, this USMNT roster finally came together against Costa Rica, playing by far their best game of the tournament. Howard, Altidore, Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Darlington Nagbe were all drafted in for the knockout stage by Bruce Arena, and the quintet helped raise the team's level. We'll never know how the team would have fared without them, but based on their performances, those five made the difference on the night for the Americans. Moving forward, this performance should leave the US confident they can win their sixth Gold Cup on Wednesday.
- DEMPSEY MAKES HISTORY: He'll need one more goal to take the all-time USMNT goal record from Landon Donovan, but Dempsey wrote his name in the record books Saturday in sharing the mark. Dempsey came off the bench, a role that some have speculated the 34-year-old would not be happy with, but there didn't appear to be any ill will on this night, as he not only reached the personal accomplishment but also set up the winning goal, in addition to setting up a goal in the quarterfinal against El Salvador. No one knows what the future holds, but for the short term, it definitely looks like Dempsey still has an important role on the US national team.
- TOUGH TICOS: Costa Rica were definitely in this game, and Urena's two chances saved by Howard were game-changing events. In looking at Costa Rica's Gold Cup run overall, reaching the semifinal was probably expected, but Oscar Ramirez's team was much better overall in defense than attack. Missing Joel Campbell, Johan Venegas and Rodney Wallace as the tournament progressed due to injury seemed to seal their fate, that 2017 would not be their year to finally lift the Gold Cup.
USA: Wednesday, July 26 vs. Jamaica (9:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN)