On This Day presented by UMKC takes daily strolls down memory lane and celebrates memorable moments in Sporting Kansas City history. As one of Major League Soccer's proud charter members, Sporting has a decorated past full of thrilling victories, amazing goals, momentous off-the-field developments and more. This series pays tribute to these specific instances, turning back the clocks while treating fans to nostalgia and club history lessons. For more, visit SportingKC.com/OnThisDay.
Four years ago today, Sporting Kansas City star Graham Zusi and the United States Men's National Team claimed an emphatic 4-0 victory over Costa Rica to take destiny back into their own hands in Group A of Copa America Centenario.
Zusi rounded out the scoring in the 87th minute at Soldier Field in Chicago, tallying the fifth and final goal of his international career to date. His club teammate, Matt Besler, was an unused substitute in the group stage contest between Concacaf rivals.
In desperate need of three points after a tournament-opening loss to Colombia, the U.S. exploded for a trio of goals in the first half, ultimately delivering Costa Rica its heaviest defeat since January 2014. Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood each found the back of the net before the break, while Zusi added a fourth after coming on in the 70th minute.
Led by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. would finish atop Group A by sinking Paraguay 1-0 four days later. The Americans took momentum into the knockout rounds and claimed a momentous 2-1 quarterfinal win over Ecuador on June 16, a game that saw Besler log 90 minutes and Zusi come off the bench.
Lionel Messi and Argentina were too much for the U.S. MNT to overcome, as a 4-0 loss in the semifinals on June 21 sent the Yanks to the third-place match against Colombia on June 25. The U.S. fell 1-0 and finished fourth in the tournament behind champions Chile, runners-up Argentina and Colombia.
Zusi played in all five matches at the historic Copa America Centenario, including four substitute appearances, while Besler started in the quarterfinal victory against Ecuador and the third-place contest versus Colombia.