The Washington Post

U.S. men cap big stretch with a rout of Costa Rica



SANDY, UTAH — Brenden Aaronson scored in the eighth minute, Daryl Dike and Reggie Cannon added their first internatio­nal goals, and the United States beat Costa Rica, 4-0, in an exhibition Wednesday night to complete a grueling stretch of four games in 11 days.

Gio Reyna added a penalty kick in the 77th minute, three minutes after entering, in the last preparatio­n match for most front-line American players before the pandemic-delayed start of World Cup qualifying in September.

U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter changed nine starters from the lineup he used to beat Mexico, 3-2, in extra time Sunday to win the first Concacaf Nations League.

Europe-based players will go on their brief vacations and then skip next month’s Concacaf Gold Cup to report for preseason ahead of the 2021-22 club seasons.

The 20th-ranked United States improved to 11-1-1 in its past 13 matches and won its 10th consecutiv­e game against a regional opponent since a 2019 Nations League loss to Canada, matching the American high set in 2013. The Americans beat their top three regional rivals within a week.

Defender Mark Mckenzie was the only player to start for the fourth straight game, and Christian Pulisic, Weston Mckennie and Josh Sargent didn’t play at all as Berhalter tested his roster depth for qualifying, in which three matches are crammed into FIFA windows designed for two.

Ethan Horvath was rarely tested and got the shutout on his 26th birthday after taking over after Zack Steffen suffered a bone bruise in his left knee during the second half Sunday and saving Andrés Guardado’s penalty kick in extra time.

By resting many regulars, the United States used a lineup that likely will be far different from the one that will face the Ticos in World Cup qualifiers Oct. 13 and March 30.

The 50th-ranked Ticos are winless in 11 games since 2019, with six losses and five draws that included a pair of defeats on penalty kicks.

The U.S. team, wearing rainbow numbers on white jerseys for LGBTQ Pride month, dominated and went ahead quickly. Sebastian Lletget passed to Antonee Robinson on the left flank, and he crossed for Dike. Francisco Calvo knocked the ball away, but it bounced into the path of Aaronson, whose right-footed shot from eight yards beat goalkeeper Leonel Moreira for his third goal in seven internatio­nal appearance­s.

Dike, six days past his 21st birthday and making his third internatio­nal appearance, scored in the 42nd minute. Mckenzie made a through pass from just short of the midfield stripe, and Dike ran onto the ball and scored from 14 yards.

Cannon picked up an errant sideways clearance attempt by Yeltsin Tejeda in the 52nd minute, dribbled in, cut around Joseph Mora and scored with a left-footed shot from 14 yards.

Reyna was awarded the penalty when he was knocked over by Keysher Fuller. The 18-year-old, a son of former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, became the youngest American to convert a penalty kick with his fourth internatio­nal goal.

Jordan Siebatcheu entered in the 74th minute and appeared to hurt his right knee in an aerial challenge, forcing the United States to finish a man short.

 ?? RICK BOWMER/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Reggie Cannon, right, scored his first internatio­nal goal in the win against Costa Rica.
RICK BOWMER/ASSOCIATED PRESS Reggie Cannon, right, scored his first internatio­nal goal in the win against Costa Rica.

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