US routs Costa Rica 4-0 to finish 4-game, 11-day stretch

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 on Wednesday night to complete a grueling stretch of four games in 11 days.

Gio Reyna added a penalty kick in the 77th, 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 on 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 U.S. improved 11-1-1 in its last 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, where 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 when Zack Steffen sustained a bone bruise in his left knee during the second half on Sunday and saving Andrés Guardado’s penalty kick in extra time.

By resting many regulars, the U.S. used a lineup that figures to be far different from the one that will face the Ticos in World Cup qualifiers on 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 penalty-kicks defeats.

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 8 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. Mark 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 U.S. to finish a man short.

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