2017 Gold Cup, Semifinals
  • Jozy Altidore (72')
  • Clint Dempsey (82')

Clint Dempsey matches U.S. goals record in Gold Cup semi win

Dempsey can be superstar off U.S. bench (1:35)

Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez break down the United States' win over Costa Rica in the Gold Cup semifinals. (1:35)

Clint Dempsey equaled the United States all-time goal scoring record with his 57th while leading the U.S. into the CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica on Saturday night.

The game turned when U.S. coach Bruce Arena brought in Dempsey as a substitute midway through the second half, and the 34-year-old set up Jozy Altidore for the breakthrough goal before adding his second from a free kick.

Dempsey matched the record in his 136th appearance for the senior team, 17 games faster than it took Landon Donovan to score his 57 international goals.

The game was barely 15 seconds old when the U.S. poured toward the Costa Rica goal and Jordan Morris rattled the near post with a shot from an angle.

Costa Rica's David Guzman fired just wide two minutes later, though the U.S. went on to control most of the action in the first half.

Altidore was played in on goal in the 15th minute but rather than shooting from wide of the goal chose to center for Kellyn Acosta, who could only manage an off-balance touch.

Tim Howard was only called into duty in the 37th minute, dragging his foot to deny Costa Rica striker Marcos Urena a great opportunity to score.

As the second half began, Morris did well to draw Ticos keeper Patrick Pemberton out of his goal, but Graham Zusi's cross was just out of Altidore's reach, and Darlington Nagbe failed to react behind him.

The pressure was beginning to mount as the game would have gone straight to penalties after the 90 minutes, and Altidore had a go from 25 yards that Pemberton saved.

Then in the 66th minute, Arena replaced Paul Arriola with Dempsey, whose addition immediately changed the game.

First the Sounders forward played in Acosta with a well-weighted pass at the top of the box, but again Pemberton was able to make a good save.

And soon after Dempsey started another attack, evading two opponents before finding Altidore as he ran into the box, and this time the striker got his shot past the goalkeeper for his 38th career international goal.

Dempsey then lined up a free kick in the 82nd minute and sent a low shot into the back of the net to double the lead, match the record, and send the crowd in his home state of Texas into a frenzy.

Trying for their sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013, the Americans will play the winner of Sunday's other semifinal -- Mexico or Jamaica -- in the final on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California.

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