The United States Men’s national team won an international friendly against Costa Rica on Saturday, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles.
Ulysses Llanez Jr. scored the winning goal on a direct penalty kick from inside the penalty box early in the second half after Reggie Cannon was tackled near the goal.
With coach Greg Berhalter at the helm, the American defense went on to shut out Costa Rica’s attack and earn a win. The United States came into the international friendly against Costa Rica prepared. A January camp that was held by the squad leading up to their friendly against Los Ticos made sure of that.
Both Costa Rica and the U.S. National Team have their eyes on gaining experience for their youthful players in preparation for the 2020 Olympics.
USA’s 1-0 shutout on Feb. 1 will instill confidence in their young players who were getting a first taste of playing time on the international stage. Sam Vines, Mark Mckenzie, Brendan Aaronson, Jesus Ferreira, Chase Gasper, Brandon Servania, and now the third-youngest goal-scorer in US history Ulysses Llanez Jr. were the seven U.S. players who made their international debut against Costa Rica.
After the game, USA coach Greg Berhalter spoke to the media about some of his thoughts on the team’s victory. “We have been training for four weeks now. We knew the age of our guys, we knew the capabilities of our guys, and it was nice to see them grow throughout the month and we were very comfortable that they would be able to perform today based on what we have seen in the course of these last four weeks,” Berhalter said.
In the USMNT’s next match, they will travel and play in a friendly on March 26 against European powerhouse Netherlands. Four days later, they will fly to Cardiff City on March 30 to play against Wales.