Jesus Ferreira scored in the first half to lead the United States to a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica to open Group A of the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship.
In addition to Ferreira’s goal, the U.S. were bolstered by a top performance from GK David Ochoa, who registered nine saves as part of his clean sheet.
Ferreira came within inches of giving the U.S. a dream start in the 2’ when he dispossessed Costa Rica DF Fernan Faerron in front of goal, only to see his right-footed shot sting the post.
A defensive error from the U.S. also led to a Costa Rica scoring chance in the 17’ when Adrian Martinez swooped in and stripped U.S. DF Mauricio Pineda, but Ochoa came up with a big save.
Ferreira would then make up for his earlier miss to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 35’ by latching onto a Sam Vines cross from the left and firing a right-footed shot into net.
Costa Rica enjoyed a strong start to the second half and on a number of occasions Ochoa was called into action to keep things clean for the U.S.
The Ticos continued to press in hopes of an equalizer, while the U.S. sought a second score via the counterattack and almost found it through Ferreira, whose effort was snuffed out by Costa Rica GK Kevin Chamorro.
Costa Rica’s would get one last crack at the U.S. goal in the 84’ via a Jurguens Montenegro header off a corner kick, but the ball skimmed off the post and out of play.
Both teams return to action on Sunday, with the U.S. squaring off with the Dominican Republic, while Costa Rica will face Mexico.