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U.S. Men’s Soccer defeats Costa Rica

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U.S. Men’s Soccer defeats Costa Rica

PHOTO BY THE ALLI WESEMAN/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY THE ALLI WESEMAN/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY THE ALLI WESEMAN/THE PIONEER

By Alli Wesewan, PHOTO EDITOR

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The United States Men’s National soccer team returned to Avaya Stadium to face Costa Rica on Saturday. This was the second game of the January camp and the first one under new Head Coach, Gregg Berhalter.
The January Camp allows the national team coaches to evaluate players and how they interact with each other over an extended period of time.
The U.S. capitalized on late goals from midfielders Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola to lead the national team to a 2-0 win over Costa Rica.
This was Lletget’s first time playing at Avaya stadium since suffering a devastating foot injury during a World Cup Qualifier game against Honduras in 2017 at Avaya Stadium.
The U.S. struggled during the first half as they were not able to connect their passes which allowed Costa Rica to get early possession of the ball.
In the 15th minute, the U.S. settled into a rhythm which allowed them to play to their strengths.
In the 20th minute, the team had another chance to capitalize when midfielder Djordje MIhailovic received a bouncing pass from forward Gyasi Zardes, but due to the wet grass, was unable to score.
“The mentality in the first half was too passive,” Berhalter said during the postgame news conference. “We wanted to be more aggressive, and we weren’t seeing it from the group. So we addressed that at half-time.”
After a throw-in, Costa Rica saw its best chance to score after midfielder Allen Cruz received the ball from defender Keysher Fuller in the 22nd minute.
The second half saw the U.S. come out strong and determined to capitalize against Costa Rica.
In the 80th minute, Lletget scored the go-ahead goal after midfielder Jonathan Lewis set up a perfect header for Lletget. Lletget then passed the ball to midfielder Paul Arriola in the 88th minute to close out the game, which proved that the U.S. was not finished.
This victory makes Berhalter the third U.S National team coach to win his first two games.
Berhalter was hired in December after the United States Men’s National Team fired Jurgen Klinsmann in 2016 following the national team failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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