Clint Dempsey scored a goal and added an assist on Jozy Altidore’s goal, both in the second half, to lead the U.S. men’s soccer team to a dramatic 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The U.S. advanced to Wednesday’s championship game against the winner of Sunday’s other semifinal between Mexico and Jamaica. Coach Bruce Arena has the U.S. off to a 13-game unbeaten streak (8-0-5) to start his second tenure with the team, the best start ever for a U.S. coach.
Dempsey’s 57th career goal tied him for the all-time U.S. high with Landon Donovan. Dempsey, who helped the U.S. to Gold Cup wins in 2005 and 2007, also moved into fourth place on the U.S. career assist record list with 20, surpassing Claudio Reyna.
The U.S. used a relentless attack to wear down Costa Rica in the second half, and the timing of Altidore’s goal came on a regroup in the same minute after Costa Rica’s Giancarlo Gonzalez sent a shot that forced U.S. goalie Tim Howard to make an athletic save.
Altidore, a 2008 U.S. Olympian who joined the Gold Cup team for the 2-0 quarterfinal win over El Salvador this past Wednesday, broke the scoreless tie in the 72nd minute. Dempsey executed a run through several defenders at midfield and sent a through ball to Altidore near the top of the penalty area.
Altidore launched a low left-footed shot to beat charging Coast Rica goalie Patrick Pemberton, sending the shot into the goal off the outstretched hand of the goalie.
Dempsey scored on a free kick from about 30 yards out 10 minutes later to ice the victory.