Former Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter led the U.S. Men’s National Team to its second consecutive victory with him at the helm as the Americans defeated Costa Rica 2-0 at the Avaya Stadium, in San Jose, California, on Saturday. Black & Gold players Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes all started the match, with only Zardes not playing the full 90 minutes
“We knew it would be a difficult match,” Berhalter said after the final whistle. “I liked our attitude in the second half. The team was much more aggressive and had more life. It was a good lesson, we have to go for it. Our focus during camp was on team building, creating a style of play and competing. We showed good elements, but we need to keep improving. It was good to see the urgency and them pushing in the second half.”
For his second match in six days, Berhalter made just two changes in the starting lineup that played against Panama last Monday with Trapp replacing Michael Bradley and Paul Arriola coming in for Jeremy Ebobisse.
Steffen, who had his second-straight shutout with the national team, and Trapp, who started for the first time under Berhalter, both participated in the goals. On the first, at the 80tj minute, the Crew’s captain found New York City FC’s winger Jonathan Lewis with a long pass in the left wing. He crossed to Lletget, who tapped it in with a back post header.
Eight minutes later, Steffen connected a long pass to Christian Ramirez, who had replaced Zardes in the 77th minute, with the Los Angeles Football Club’ striker headed towards Lletget. The LA Galaxy midfielder found Arriola between the Costa Rican defenders and the D.C. United winger chipped it over goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado to seal the American triumph.
Zardes was active during the 77 minutes he was on the field and was involved in much of the offensive actions created by the team, especially when he managed to slide to the left flank. The Crew’s striker didn’t have a real chance to find the back of the net though.
After completing the January camp, the national team will be reunited again in March, with a couple of friendly matches scheduled against Ecuador, March 21, at Orlando City Stadium, in Orlando, and Chile, March 26, at the BBVA Compass Stadium, in Texas. For these games, Berhalter will be able to call players who are based overseas for the first time since he took over.