The United States completed an exhausting stretch of four games in 11 days over 5,400 miles, resulting in three wins, including the Concacaf Nations League trophy. Twenty-four players saw action, and eight scored. The preparation time for the Europe-based players is over. Next time is the start of the World Cup qualifiers in September.
“The depth of this team will really come in handy,” Brenden Aaronson said after scoring in the eighth minute on Wednesday night to start a 4-0 friendly win over Costa Rica. “I think things are going really well so far. And I think we showed it today. ”
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter switched nine starters from the team he used to beat Mexico 3-2 in overtime Sunday to win the first Concacaf Nations League.
Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Josh Sargent did not play at all.
Defender Mark McKenzie, the target of racial abuse on social media after a poor first half Sunday, was the only player to start for the fourth straight game and had a stronger effort.
“I came out of the Mexico game and was very proud of Mark and the way he handled himself,” Berhalter said. “He did not need to play another minute today and I would still have been proud of him.”
This schedule was designed to mimic pandemic delayed World Cup qualification, with the United States opening with three matches from September 2 to 8, a window Fifa designed for two games.
“What I realized is that it takes a group to get this done. It does not take 11 starters, ”said Berhalter. “We think we have a young, talented group. And to get that Concacaf experience was massive. And when we turn around and go into world championship qualifying, we get a good idea of how it will be and how the rhythm with three games will be. ”
Reyna was the only multiple goal scorer over the four matches that began with a 2-1 friendly loss in Switzerland on May 30 and was followed by last Thursday’s 1-0 win over Honduras in the Nations League semi-final. Pulisic, McKennie, Jordan Siebatcheu and Sebastian Lletget also scored.
“I think there are guys who will be able to go three games and 90 minutes, but it will not be many, especially considering the way we want to play and the way we want to hit. , ”Said Berhalter.
European-based players will take short breaks and then skip next month’s Concacaf Gold Cup to report for the preseason ahead of the club 2021-22.
The 20th ranked USA improved to 11-1-1 in their last 13 matches and won their 10th match in a row against a regional opponent since a 2019 Nations League loss to Canada that matched the US highlight in 2013. USA beat their top three regional rivals within a week.
Ethan Horvath was rarely tested and got shut down on his 26th birthday after taking over when Zack Steffen got a bone marrow in his left knee in the second half on Sunday.
Ticos are winless in 11 games since 2019 with six losses and five draws that included a couple of penalty kicks defeats.
The American team, wearing rainbow numbers on white jerseys during LGBTQ Pride month, dominated and moved on after Lletget went to Antonee Robinson on the left flank and he crossed to Dike. Francisco Calvo knocked the ball away, but it bounced into the path of Aaronson, whose right-footed shot from eight yards hit goalkeeper Leonel Moreira for his third goal in seven international appearances.
Dike, who was six days past his 21st birthday and made his third international appearance, scored in the 42nd minute. McKenzie fed a pass and Dike ran on the ball and scored from 14 yards.
A crowd of 19,007 was unusual for Dike, who has played most of his pro career in empty stadiums or in front of limited crowds due to the pandemic.
“It was incredible to have fans,” Dike said. “It’s something you’ve always looked forward to as a toddler to be able to play in front of thousands and thousands of fans.”
Cannon made a brilliant save 52 minutes into the match, blocking a rocket of a shot from Yeltsin Tejeda on the right hand side. The ball bounced harmlessly off the post, though.
Reyna got the penalty when he was knocked down by Keysher Fuller. The 18-year-old became the youngest American man to convert a sentence for his country.