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USMNT hosts Costa Rica in CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals on Saturday

CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – Fresh off a 2-0 shutout win against El Salvador in Wednesday’s Quarterfinal, the U.S. Men’s National Team continues its quest for a sixth confederation championship when it takes on Costa Rica in the Semifinals of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday, July 22. Coverage from AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas begins at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, UniMas and Univision Deportes Network.

U.SROSTER BY POSITION (ClubCaps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0) Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 3/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 116/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 42/1), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 43/3), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 5/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 13/10), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 3/1), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 3/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX; 9/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 51/5)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 12/1), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 9/2), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 134/17), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX; 20/3), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 10/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 18/1), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union; 5/0), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 35/6)

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 25/3),Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 105/37), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 135/56), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 20/4)

U.S. MNT EARNS 2-0 QUARTERFINAL VICTORY VS. EL SALVADOR
The U.S. MNT weathered the challenging and physical early minutes of Wednesday’s encounter vs. El Salvador and utilized late first-half goals from defenders Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj to earn a 2-0 victory against Los Cuscatlecos in front of 31,615 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Gonzalez headed home his second goal in as many matches to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead, flicking on Michael Bradley’s free kick from the left in the 41 st minute. Just six minutes later, Lichaj made a smart run to get on the end of a pass from Clint Dempsey before burying his first international goal through the legs of El Salvador goalkeeper Derby Carrillo.

The win pushed the U.S. to its 13th Semifinal appearance in 14 Gold Cup tournaments, setting up Saturday’s showdown with Costa Rica.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY FOR U.S. DEFENDERS
Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj’s goals against El Salvador put them in rare company. The pair of strikes marked just the third time in the Modern Era (1990-present) that two U.S. defenders scored in the same game . It’s also the second instance in the last two years and first time in official competition.

Here are three occurrences since 1990:

Two U.S. MNT Defenders Scoring in the Same Game

Date Result U.S. Defenders Competition
March 26, 2008 3-0 W at Poland Onyewu, Bocanegra Friendly
Jan. 31, 2016 3-2 W vs. Iceland Orozco, Birnbaum Friendly
July 19, 2017 2-0 W vs. El Salvador Gonzalez, Lichaj 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal

CLINT DEMPSEY, MICHAEL BRADLEY CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS
Veteran reinforcements Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley made their first appearances of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and with them moved up the U.S. MNT all-time lists in two different categories.

Appearance wise, Dempsey earned his 135th cap to move past Jeff Agoos into third on the U.S. MNT’s all-time list. Bradley also earned his 134th cap to tie Agoos for fourth.

The U.S. captain then tallied his 22nd career assist on Gonzalez’s 41st minute header, which moved him into a tie for second with Cobi Jones on the U.S. MNT’s assist list. Dempsey provided the helper on Lichaj’s strike, which pushed him into a deadlock for fourth on the all-time assist list with Claudio Reyna at 19.

Here’s a look at the Top 5 in both categories:

U.S. MNT All-Time Caps Leaders

U.S. MNT All-Time Assists Leaders

Cobi Jones

164

Landon Donovan

58

Landon Donovan

157

Michael Bradley

22

Clint Dempsey

135

Cobi Jones

22

Michael Bradley

134

Clint Dempsey

19

Jeff Agoos

134

Claudio Reyna

19

ARENA CONTINUES SUCCESSFUL START TO SECOND TENURE
Wednesday’s win also extended the USA’s current unbeaten streak to 12 matches, all occurring since Bruce Arena returned as National Team coach last November. With a 7-0-5 record, the current 12-game unbeaten streak sets a new record for the longest at the beginning of a U.S. MNT head coaching tenure, besting the mark set by Bob Bradley, who led the U.S. to a 10-0-1 record during his first 11 games in charge in 2007.

GOLD CUP HISTORY VS. COSTA RICA
Costa Rica defeated Panama 1-0 in Wednesday’s earlier Quarterfinal, setting up Saturday’sSemifinal clash. While the all-time series between the sides is pretty tight, the USA has dominated the Gold Cup contests, going 6-0-1 in seven all-time meetings at the confederation championship.

Most notably, a Bruce Arena-led U.S. side defeated Los Ticos 2-0 in the 2002 Gold Cup Final, which also served as Costa Rica’s only appearance in the tournament’s championship match. Interestingly, Saturday’s Semifinal showdown comes 24 years and one day from the date the teams met in a 1993 Gold Cup Semifinal, which the U.S. won 1-0 behind a golden goal from defender Cle Kooiman.

Check out the previous seven USA-Costa Rica Gold Cup meetings:

USA-Costa Rica All-Time Gold Cup Results

Date

Result

U.S. Goal Scorers

Round

July 3, 1991 3-2 W Perez, Vermes, og Group Stage
July 21, 1993 1-0 W (asdet) Kooiman Semifinal
Feb. 7, 1998 2-1 W Pope, Preki Group Stage
Feb. 2, 2002 2-0 W Wolff, Agoos Final
July 26, 2003 3-2 W Stewart, Bocanegra, Convey Third-Place Match
July 12, 2005 0-0 D Group Stage
July 16, 2013 1-0 W Shea Group Stage

UTILIZING ROSTER DEPTH
Setting out to test his full roster at the tournament, Arena started 22 different players during the Group Stage. The U.S. head coach continued to utilize nearly his entire roster when he handed starts to additions Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Darlington Nagbe in Wednesday’s win against El Salvador.

In total, 27 of the 29 players who have been on the roster have started one of the USA’s four Gold Cup matches, with only Sean Johnson (Group Stage goalkeeper) and Jesse Gonzalez (Knockout Round addition) yet to appear in the tournament.

“I think one thing we’ve benefited from in the tournament was that we had been able to look at a lot of players and see how they fit in in the big picture, and if there’s anything I get out of the Gold Cup it’s going to be that,” Arena said.

CAUTIONS WIPED OUT
Following the Quarterfinals, all players with yellow cards had their cautions erased and start with a clean slate going into the Semifinal. The U.S. had three players pick up yellow cards in its first four matches: Joe Corona, Justin Morrow and Darlington Nagbe.

KNOCKOUT ROUND FORMAT CHANGES
CONCACAF has implemented a few changes for this year’s Knockout Round. If Quarterfinal and Semifinal matches are tied at the end of 90 minutes, the games will bypass the normal 30 minutes of extra time and move straight to penalty kicks. Extra time will only be played in the Final if teams are tied at the end of 90 minutes. In that case, teams will also be allowed a fourth substitution to be used during the additional 30 minutes. These changes mirror those that were implemented during last summer’s Copa America Centenario.

A PROVING GROUND
U.S. MNT players have long used the confederation championship as an extended audition for a place at the FIFA World Cup. Dating back to 1993, 18 players with 10 or less caps have made the jump from the most recent Gold Cup roster onto a FIFA World Cup roster (see table below). Most recently, current MNT center back Matt Besler utilized the USA’s run to the 2013 championship to make his way onto the 2014 roster in Brazil .

U . S MNT Players From Gold Cup to World Cup

1993 Gold Cup/1994 World Cup Brad Friedel, Cle Kooiman, Roy Wegerle
1998 Gold Cup/1998 World Cup Frankie Hejduk, Juergen Sommer
2002 Gold Cup/2002 World Cup DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni
2005 Gold Cup/2006 World Cup Jimmy Conrad, Clint Dempsey, Marcus Hahnemann, Oguchi Onyewu
2009 Gold Cup/2010 World Cup Clarence Goodson, Stuart Holden
2013 Gold Cup/2014 World Cup Matt Besler, Mix Diskerud, Nick Rimando, Chris Wondolowski

WHAT IS THE CONCACAF GOLD CUP ? 
Held every two years, the Gold Cup is the regional championship for CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. Along with lifting a trophy and earning supremacy in the confederation, the winner of the Gold Cup earns a place in the CONCACAF Cup, a one-game playoff that determines the region’s representative at the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup. Should the same team win both in 2017 and 2019, they will automatically earn a place in the tournament.

Placed in Group B, the U.S. opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Panama on July 8 in Nashville and defeated Martinique 3-2 on July 12 in Tampa. The team concludes the Group Stage with its first-ever meeting against Nicaragua on July 15 in Cleveland. The top two teams in each of the three groups automatically advance to the Quarterfinals and will be joined there by the two best third-place finishers.

USA HISTORY IN THE GOLD CUP
The United States has won five editions of the tournament, beginning with the inaugural 1991 Gold Cup when the team defeated Mexico 2-0 in the Semifinal before downing Honduras on penalty kicks in the Championship. Current U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena is one of two managers to win the tournament twice, lead the side to its second and third titles in 2002 and 2005 respectively and the team followed those up with wins in 2007 and 2013. In 13 editions of the tournament, the U.S. has played in the Final nine times and has advanced to the Semifinal on 13 occasions.

EUROPEAN VACATION
The regular European-based contingent for the MNT is in the midst of a much-needed break between now and the World Cup next summer. Having completed their club seasons in May, the group went straight into camp for the World Cup Qualifiers in June. After a 14-day camp preparing for the rigors of altitude, the U.S. emerged with four points from two games including a huge draw away to Mexico. Now two weeks into holidays, they begin to return to preseason shortly with the hopes of earning regular playing time for the upcoming campaign.

USA ROSTER NOTES :

  • The U.S. is in the midst of 12-match unbeaten streak, going 7-0-5 since Bruce Arena returned as head coach.
  • The current streak is the best start to a U.S. MNT head coaching tenure, beating the 10-0-1 stretch the team went on to start Bob Bradley’s time on the job in 2007.
  • Arena has handed starts to 27 of 29 players during through the first four games of the tournament.
  • Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj both scored in Wednesday’s match vs. El Salvador, marking just the third time in the modern era (1990-present) that two U.S. MNT defenders have scored in the same match.
  • The U.S. has seen its nine goals tallied by seven different players, more than any team in the tournament.
  • With his appearance vs. El Salvador, Clint Dempsey moved past Jeff Agoos and into third on the U.S. MNT all-time caps list with 135. Captain Michael Bradley now sits tied with Agoos for fourth with 134.
  • Bradley’s assist on Gonzalez’s 41st minute goal was the 22 nd of his international career, tying him with Cobi Jones for second on the U.S. MNT all-time assist list.
  • Dempsey’s helper on Lichaj’s goal was his 19th, tying him with Claudio Reyna for fourth all-time on the assist list.
  • With 56, Dempsey sits just one back of Landon Donovan for the U.S. MNT’s all-time goal scoring lead.
  • Dempsey’s 12 all-time Gold Cup goals also rank him second behind Donovan, who tallied 18 in the competition.
  • Goals have come from Jordan Morris (2), Omar Gonzalez (2), Joe Corona, Dom Dwyer, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga and Kelyn Rowe.
  • With the roster additions, eight players were part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup team: Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and Graham Zusi.
  • A majority of the roster comes from Major League Soccer, with 17 players representing 11 clubs.
  • Six players come from clubs outside of M.L.S., with four from Mexico and two from England.
  • Twelve players have previously been part of a Gold Cup roster: Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Joe Corona, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Bill Hamid, Tim Howard, Eric Lichaj, Gyasi Zardes, Graham Zusi
  • Bedoya also has the most CONCACAF Gold Cup experience, earning 13 appearances during four different confederation tournaments (including 2017).
  • Guzan was one of two U.S. players to play every minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and was awarded the tournament’s Golden Glove as best goalkeeper.
  • Six players were on the U.S. MNT’s last Gold Cup-winning side in 2013: Bedoya, Besler, Joe Corona, Gonzalez, Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson.
  • Ten players are also alumni of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Acosta, Agudelo, Arriola, Corona, Jesse Gonzalez, Hamid, Miazga, Morris, Rowe and Zardes.

U.SMNT IN THE GOLD CUP

  • Beginning with the inaugural title in 1991, the U.S. has lifted the Gold Cup on five occasions. Current MNT head coach Bruce Arena guided the side to the 2002 and 2005 championships, while the team also went on to win in 2007 and 2015.
  • Arena is one of only two managers to win the Gold Cup twice. Bora Milutinovic led the U.S. to the 1991 title before managing Mexico to championship in 1996.
  • The USA has more wins in the CONCACAF Gold Cup than any other nation, going 54-8-9 all-time.
  • The U.S. has gone 22-7-5 during the tournament’s Knockout Round.
  • With a 16-1-4 record in the Gold Cup, Arena is also the winningest head coach all-time in the competition.
  • The U.S. manager is 6-1-3 in the Knockout Round and 14-0-4 overall vs. CONCACAF opposition in the tournament.
  • The MNT has advanced to the Final on nine occasions: 1991, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
  • The USA has made it to the Semifinals in 13 out of 14 tournaments, missing out only in 2000.

USA  COSTA RICA NOTES

  • The MNT is 14-15-6 all-time vs. Costa Rica and 13-6-4 on U.S. soil.
  • The USA is 6-0-1 against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, with the lone draw coming in the final Group Stage match at the 2005 tournament when the team had already advanced.
  • A Bruce Arena-led U.S. side defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, which stood as Los Ticos lone appearance in the championship match.
  • The U.S. and Costa Rica have met once before in the Semifinals, coming on July 21, 1993 when Cle Kooiman’s golden goal handed the MNT a 1-0 extra time victory at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
  • The sides traded 4-0 wins during 2016. The U.S. defeated Costa Rica 4-0 in the second Group Stage match of Copa America Centenario on June 7, 2016 in Chicago, while Costa Rica won by the same score line in World Cup Qualifying on Nov. 15, 2016, in San Jose.
  • U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena led the team to a 4-3-2 record in nine meetings during his first tenure in charge.
  • Both teams have played previous Gold Cup matches at AT&T Stadium. The U.S. MNT defeated Honduras 3-1 in the 2013 Semifinal, while Costa Rica downed Cuba 5-0 during a 2011 Group Stage encounter.
  • The two sides are slated to meet again in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on Sept. 1 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

COSTA RICA ROSTER by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Dany Carvajal (Deportivo Saprissa), Leonel Moreira (Herediano, CRC); Patrick Pemberton (LD Alajuelense)

DEFENDERS (9): Johnny Acosta (CS Herediano); Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United FC/USA); Giancarlo Gonzalez (Palermo/ITA); Kenner Gutiérrez (LD Alajuelense); Jhamir Ordain (Herediano), José Salvatierra (LD Alajuelense); Michael Umaña (CS Cartagines), Juan Pablo Vargas (Herediano), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Randall Azofeifa (CS Herediano); David Guzman (Portland Timbers/USA); Jimmy Marin (Herediano), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Clube de Portugal/POR); Ulises Segura (Deportivo Saprissa); Yeltsin Tejeda (FC Lausanne-Sport/SUI); Rodney Wallace (New York City FC/USA)

FORWARDS (4): Jose Leiton (Herediano), David Ramírez (Deportivo Saprissa); Ariel Rodriguez (Bangkok Glass FC/THA); Marco Ureña (San Jose Earthquakes/USA);

COSTA RICA NOTES

  • Costa Rica has been managed by former National Team defender Oscar Ramirez since 2015.
  • Los Ticos are 5-2-6 in 2017 and are currently on a seven-match unbeaten streak of their own, going 4-0-3.
  • Costa Rica won Group A, defeating Honduras 1-0 (July 7), drawing Canada 1-1 (July 11) and beating French Guiana 3-0 (July 14). In Wednesday’s Quarterfinal, a 77th minute own goal from Panama midfielder Anibal Godoy gave Costa Rica the 1-0 win.
  • Saturday’s game will mark Costa Rica’s fifth Semifinal appearance and first since 2009.
  • Costa Rica’s best finish at the tournament came in 2002 when they fell 2-0 to the USA in the Final.
  • Fourteen players on the roster are based domestically, five play in M.L.S., with one each in Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and Thailand.
  • Midfielder David Guzamn is teammates with U.S. MNT player Darlington Nagbe at the Portland Timbers.