There was less intensity, no drama and no trophy at stake, but for the U.S. men's national team, the result was the same: a 4-0 win against Costa Rica in a friendly on Wednesday at Sandy, Utah.
Coming off a riveting 3-2 extra-time win over Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Nations League on Sunday, the Americans had an easier time at Rio Tinto Stadium against the overmatched Costa Ricans.
Brenden Aaronson in the eighth minute, and the first international goal for Daryl Dike in the 42nd minute staked the U.S. to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Not to be outdone, defender Reggie Cannon made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute for his first score in his 18th U.S. career appearance, and Gio Reyna added a penalty-kick goal in the 77th minute.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made nine changes to the starting lineup from Sunday with center backs Mark McKenzie and Tim Ream the holdovers.
Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath celebrated his 26th birthday by making two saves.
Horvath was the hero Sunday after Zack Steffen exited in the 69th minute with a bruised knee. Horvath made a penalty kick save in the 124th minute to preserve the lead that came from a Christian Pulisic PK 10 minutes earlier.
Pulisic did not play Wednesday at the end of a stretch of four U.S. games since May 30. The busy sequence replicates the cadence similar to the three-game window for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying that begins in September.
Aaronson scored his third goal in seven international matches by pouncing on a loose ball in the box after Dike's shot was blocked. Dike extended the lead, breaking the offside trap thanks to a long pass from the center circle by McKenzie.
Cannon stepped into a Costa Rican turnover to strike from 15 yards. Reyna, who scored the first goal against Mexico, was fouled by Keysher Fuller and the 18-year-old calmly scored his fourth goal in eight international appearances.
--Field Level Media