After watching his team rout Costa Rica, United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes the Copa America Centenario hosts are in pole position to qualify for the quarter-finals.
USA bounced back from their opening-game defeat to Colombia with a 4-0 demolition of Costa Rica in Chicago on Tuesday.
Klinsmann said after Friday’s 2-0 loss that USA played well, but just did not get the result against FIFA’s third-ranked nation.
Now, he knows how much better it is to get the win in Group A.
“I think we are in the driver’s seat to get out of this very difficult group,” Klinsmann said. “I think this is the most difficult group.
“We were eager to get on the field, eager to get the first three points.
“It took a while to settle into the game, but after the first goal we kept pushing to find the next one.”
USA withstood an early onslaught before putting Costa Rica to the sword at Soldier Field.
Clint Dempsey scored a ninth-minute penalty for his 50th international goal, and Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood put the game out of reach before half-time.
Graham Zusi came off the bench and completed the scoring with only minutes remaining.
“Goals are a confidence builder, and some players stepped it up today,” Klinsmann said. “Jermaine Jones was one of them. He put his stamp on the game.”
With mixed results in the first two games, Klinsmann understands USA still have room for improvement, especially after watching Argentina and defending champions Chile in Group D on Monday.
“When you watch Argentine-Chile, this is another level,” Klinsmann said. “We watched in the coach’s room and were exhausted by half-time.
“They went 200 miles per hour and were technically perfect. You watch who Argentina brings off the bench, and you say ‘Holy Moly’
“This is a huge, huge, huge showcase for the game.”