The U.S. National Team won their first game with Clint Dempsey making his debut as captain, but the snow storm that hit the Rockies may have helped, as well.
Scoring the game’s only goal in the 16th minute, Dempsey lifted the U.S. to a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica Friday night amidst huge snow flurries in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Denver.
Dempsey charged the net following Jozy Altidore’s long range shot, and deflected the rebound in for his 33rd international goal.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann named the 30-year-old captain after goalkeeper Tim Howard suffered a back injury, and due to Carlos Bocanegra’s inactivity with his Spanish club.
The win gave the U.S. three points for a 1-1 record, and second place behind Honduras.
The match was shrouded in controversy, due to the snow. According to Reuters, a Costa Rica soccer federation official said they will protest the match. The Ticos have 24 hours to file a written protest to FIFA.
"I asked them to stop. They should suspend the ref," head coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. "It was an embarrassment. It was an insult to Costa Rica and people coming in here."
Plows had to clear the field after conditions became so bad that officials stopped the match in the 55th minute to clear some of the lines, but play eventually resumed.
The snow affected play on both sides, and created confusion for Costa Rica’s offense, which drew five offside penalties.
Still, Costa Rica made USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan work throughout the match, firing off nine shots with four on goal, while he turned each of them away.
Dempsey’s shot was the only one on target out of six U.S. attempts.
In their next qualifying match, the U.S. will meet Mexico on March 26 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
The highlights of the game can be viewed below.
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