Clint Dempsey had a goal and two assists, and the United States bounced back from its opening loss in Copa America with a convincing 4-0 victory over Costa Rica on Tuesday night in Chicago.
Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Graham Zusi also scored as the U.S. moved into prime position to grab one of two spots in the knockout round coming out of Group A in South America's championship. The Americans take on Paraguay in Philadelphia on Saturday night.
It was quite a response to days of questions after the U.S. allowed a goal off a corner kick and committed a costly hand ball in a 2-0 loss to Colombia on Friday night.
Costa Rica, which played a scoreless tie against Paraguay in its Copa opener, looked sluggish in the first half. It played without key defender Kendall Waston, who got a red card in the previous game.
The loss to Colombia ramped up criticism of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who said last month the Copa goal for the Americans was the semifinals.
U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati told reporters before the match that recent results for the men's team "haven't been what we would have hoped for, especially in the official competitions."
But Klinsmann and his players insisted they felt pretty good in the team's performance on Friday night, and the coach sent out the same starters against defensive-minded Costa Rica. And it worked.
Dempsey's goal was his 50th in international play. The 33-year-old now joins Landon Donovan (57) as the only U.S. men's national team players with 50 career goals.
Dempsey was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by Chris Wondolowski in the 78th minute, and he applauded the crowd as he headed off the field.