Copa America preview: USMNT vs. Costa Rica

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After falling to Colombia in their Copa America opener, the USMNT’s upcoming match against Costa Rica is a “must-win situation.”

Those are the words of Clint Dempsey, who knows the importance of getting all three points against the United States’ CONCACAF rival on Tuesday night.

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The U.S. currently sits dead-last in Group A, but a win over Costa Rica would see the Stars and Stripes right back in the thick of things with a good chance to advance.

However, after a relatively dull performance in their opening match, the U.S. must improve tenfold against Los Ticos to get a result, as a loss would see Klinsmann’s side eliminated from the tournament before the group stage is complete.

[ MORE: How will the USMNT line up against Costa Rica? ]

Against Colombia, the U.S. barely created anything on the attack, something that needs to change against Costa Rica. With Costa Rica less of a threat on the counter, the U.S. should feel more comfortable moving forward without leaving the back-line exposed.

Klinsmann’s lineup decisions will shape the way the U.S. goes forward, but there are certainly changes to be made. Clint Dempsey was ineffective as a target striker, as he was forced to track back to find the ball, leaving the U.S. with no options up the field. Injuries to strikers have made Klinsmann’s call tougher, but he must find a way to get Dempsey time on the ball, which would then allow the veteran leader to turn and start the attack with options such as Bobby Wood or Gyasi Zardes ahead of him.