On Tuesday evening at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, the United States Men's National Team found themselves with their backs against the wall. They knew that they needed a victory over Costa Rica to stave off elimination from the Copa America Centenario and on the back of brilliant performances from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey they waltzed out 4-0 winners.
GK Brad Guzan - 7
The Evergreen Park native was clearly excited to play in front of a hometown crowd, and it showed as he lustily greeted the American Outlaws before both the start of both halves. He put in a solid effort between the sticks and was largely untroubled throughout the match. Paraguay will likely be more challenging.
DEF Deandre Yedlin - 7
Defended stoically as always, but was lucky not to be punished for a poor clearance which fell to Joel Campbell in the game's opening minutes. The Sunderland man got forward well and made a couple of terrific recovery interceptions to snuff out danger when called upon.
DEF John Brooks - 7
Brooks and central defensive partner Geoff Cameron are developing a very nice partnership at the heart of the United States defense. They seem to read each other well and showed no ill effects for being paired together again. Had a couple of deft touches to bring the ball out of dangerous situations. A strong outing.
DEF Geoff Cameron - 7
All of the good things just said about Brooks apply to Cameron as well; he's an intelligent footballer, reads the game well and is decent when playing out from the back. A good, all-around performance from the Stoke City defender.
DEF Fabian Johnson - 8
Johnson is the best footballer in this team. A right-footed left winger being asked to play left back, he did it all on Tuesday night. He made two fantastic recovery tackles, one of which stopped a potential 1v1 scenario, and bombed up and down the left flank, looking to cross and create for himself. Didn't manage to get an assist on the night, but was stellar yet again.
MID Michael Bradley - 7
The captain was markedly better than on Friday night against Colombia when he gave the ball away on a number of occasions needlessly. Marshaled his back line nicely, and did a good job of reading danger when it was there and circulating possession. A good outing.
MID Alejandro Bedoya - 7
It was another strong outing from the Nantes midfielder. He hassled and harried all across the pitch, and did well to win the ball back when Costa Rica was in possession. Padded his stat line nicely at the end of the match with an assist on Graham Zusi's 87th-minute strike.
MID Jermaine Jones - 9
A fantastic performance from the Colorado Rapids sparkplug. Jones covered every blade of grass on Tuesday evening, tracking back to break up play, pressing high up the pitch and even getting himself on the scoresheet with a wonderfully taken goal. More impressive than the little things he did was the effort he expended. At one point in the second half, he made a lung-busting recovery run to block a cross out for a corner with a sliding challenge. He was frustrated with himself that the block was out for a corner rather than a throw, continuing to give 100% effort even once the result was beyond doubt. Superlatives do not adequately describe how good he was.
FWD Gyasi Zardes - 7
Pressed well, and his work rate was something to be admired. However, his nemesis remains his first touch--a leaden first contact cost him a goal after Dempsey slipped him through early on in the match. Still, it was a good performance and one which should keep him in line to start against Paraguay.
FWD Bobby Wood - 8
One of Wood's best outings in a US jersey. Though he struck his way into American hearts with his goals last summer against Germany and Holland and was impressive during the friendly victory over Bolivia, this was the best Wood has looked while wearing the shirt in a competitive match. His goal was well taken even if his passes were occasionally misplaced.
FWD Clint Dempsey - 9
The only player on the pitch who can challenge Jones for the honor of man of the match. Duece was superb, tucking away the early penalty to put the US firmly in the driver's seat. From there, he turned provider, and dropped deeper, looking to create for Wood and Zardes. He assisted on Jones's and Wood's goals, and would have had an even prettier stat line if his teammates had tucked away all of their chances.
FWD Graham Zusi - 7
A strong showing from Zusi in his 20 minutes of game action. Did yeoman's work in tracking back, and got his just rewards with a well-taken goal.
FWD Chris Wondolowski - NR
No rating as he only played 12 minutes. Good pressing up the pitch, though.
MID Kyle Beckerman - NR
He also receives no rating, as he only featured for seven minutes. Helped to shepherd in the clean sheet.