United States 4:0 Costa Rica
United States 4:0 Costa Rica (Copa America)
Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
The second match for the United States in the Copa America Centenario was against Costa Rica in Chicago, Illinois. The pre-game festivities started near the Weather Mark Tavern on Michigan Ave with the American Outlaws, the USA Supporters group. After a quick beverage and the purchasing of the requisite game scarf, the American Outlaws marched to the stadium, taking them past the headquarters of the United States Soccer Federation. It was a large parade, extending over a kilometer and was loud and boisterous. Upon arriving at the south entrance of the stadium, we were informed that my girlfriend’s purse was too large to be allowed in, as only bags that are smaller than 6″ by 10″ were being allowed in, but if we wanted to pay $15 cash we could put it in a locker. After getting frustrated, a helpful security person suggested we use the clear plastic bag, take everything out of the purse and put it into the bag, and then we could walk right in. A useful tip for an extremely stupid rule.
Soldier Field is located along Lake Michigan, in Downtown Chicago and is the home of the NFL franchise, the Chicago Bears. The stadium dates from just after World War I, but it has undergone several renovations through the years to increase the number of luxury boxes in the stadium. The last major renovation was in 2003, and this was controversial as the new section has no continuity with the existing structure, so it looks like a giant UFO landed on an old NFL stadium.
We were in the south end, in an extremely large American Outlaws area that extended over 10 sections. With 2 seats in row 5, you can’t get much closer to the action would first getting a call up from Jurgen Klinsmann, though if that call ever comes, either him or I should probably take a drug test.
After being relieved of $20 for a scarf and $15 for a programme, we started in on an excellent game with some vocal support. Good chants and it was kept up for 90 minutes. It helped that the US got an early goal, with Dempsey converting a controversial penalty in the 9th minute.
Costa Rica defended well, and looked the better team for chunks of the first half, but an excellently taken goal by Jermaine Jones in the 37th minute left the Ticos adrift. Instead of being able to defend well and look to hit on the counter, they were forced to come out and chase the game with the expected outcome. The USA added a 3rd goal before halftime and a 4th just before full time.
A wonderful experience, with the parade and a good result meaning the fans were well energized. My only slight problems were the moronic bag policy, and both of us ending up drenched in beer after the 4th goal due to over exuberant fans in the seats next to us.