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USMNT wrap-up January Camp with a convincing win over Costa Rica

Rapids defender Keegan Rosenberry did not play.

Photo Courtesy of the Colorado Rapids
John Dorton / isiphotos.com

The U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) won its second friendly of 2019, beating Concacaf rival Costa Rica 2-0 in San Jose, California, last Saturday. Once again, USA fielded a team of mostly young players. The victory follows the team’s resounding 3-0 defeat of Panama in Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s debut. Berhalter became the third head coach to win the first two games of his USMNT career.

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For Colorado Rapids defenseman Keegan Rosenberry, the month-long camp afforded him the opportunity to impress the U.S. coaching staff in hopes of earning his first international cap, but it didn’t happen this time around.

During a recent interview with MLSoccer.com contributor Scott J. French, Rosenberry spoke about the significance of being a member of Team USA. “Your goal should be to play for your country, represent your country, and it’s difficult,” he said. “I think [I need to] maintain a level of consistency, and something I’ve realized at this camp — and the other [2017] January camp, as well — is just trying to pursue excellence everyday. I think it’s easy when you go back to your home club, where you’re a little more comfortable, not to necessarily take days off, but kind of get into a groove and not demand as much from yourself and your teammates, because it is such a long season and you have so many games at a time.”

Rosenberry concluded by sharing his perspective about this camp. “Here it’s a little different, because we’re together for a month, and it’s a lot of training before a couple games at the end. So it’s a lot of preparation, it’s a lot of driving each other and pushing each other on a daily basis, and because of that, I think, hopefully, this will help me throughout the year and also kind of re-energize me for a national team invitation time and time again.”

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Gregg Berhalter’s tactics were evident again in the team’s face-off with the Ticos. For the most part, the high energy and aggressive Yanks set the tempo of the game. They possessed the ball in the midfield and pushed up many attackers up, fullbacks included. Their collective spacing and movement was better than ever. In the second half, their effort was relentless. They countered well against the speedy Costa Rica, and chipped several long balls that led to two- and three-touch combinations and several shots on goal.

Bay Area native and L.A. Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget got the U.S. on the board with a gorgeous header in 80th minute. Eight minutes later, his goal was followed by another from D.C. United’s striker, Paul Arriola. Lletget fed a beautiful through-pass to the streaking Arriola, who made a split-second decision to lift the ball over the oncoming Tico keeper. The goal brought the patriotic crowd in Avaya Stadium to its feet. And did they roar.

With two compelling wins under their belt and a successful camp, Berhalter’s approach to coaching the USMNT has earned some praise. While in camp in Chula Vista California, Keegan Roseberry said “His [Berhalter’s] vision for what he wants to do is so clearly outlined in his head, he makes it so much more clear for us, and it’s much easier for us to buy into that and have a visual and have a clear-cut path on how to get there and what we want to do. We talk so much about his core principles and stuff. It’s been a great learning experience for me.”