COLUMBUS, Ohio – A spectator at a United States men’s soccer game can have an enjoyable time watching Sergio Dest as he goes about the business of playing right now.
20-year-old Dest’s execution of simple acts on the soccer field—running around, trapping a ball, flinging it at his feet, directing it to teammates—Oz style. He has a huge tool kit of tricks. He has a marinetist’s control over the ball – and sometimes he has crazy ideas about what to do with it.
For all his prowess, the question about Dest – raised by the coaches of both the national team and his club, Barcelona – is whether he can gather all these goodies and equipment and convey them in the form of consistently effective performances. If he can avoid the mental lapse and maintain his concentration on the field, if he himself can change the game.
For a highly entertaining night, Deste did just that, scoring a brilliant game-tying goal, calmly producing a winner and generally delighting the crowd while watching the United States take on Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying match. Helped to a 2-1 comeback victory. Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio.
Substituting in the second half, Dest made one last flashy gesture: exiting the field at the far edge, he took his time strolling around the perimeter of the playing area, waving his hands to stir up the crowd as the game followed him. continued. . When he reached the edge near the bench, he five each of his fans and some of the security guards, with a big smile on his face.
Fans joined him all the way with loud cheers.
The welcoming atmosphere and a sell-out crowd of 20,165 filled the entire United States team looking to bounce back Spiritless 1-0 defeat Sunday in Panama.
The team has come to see Columbus as an unofficial national home because of the reliably large and supportive crowd it attracts here, and because it has been the site of a pattern of positive results: of the last 10 World Cup qualifiers since 2000. Since Columbus, America had won seven, entering Wednesday.
The fans – their voices amplified across the stadium from a comfortable seating arrangement and partial rooftop – still build up to a dramatic, slow “USA!” was working through. Chanting, timed each game for the opening whistle, when Costa Rica took a resounding lead.
Heading towards the American goal in the first minute, Costa Rica defender Keyshar Fuller jumped into the air to hit a cross with his right foot. Although contact was not clear, the ball accidentally went off the grass through a small crowd, and into the net past US goalkeeper Jack Stephens, who was frozen over the line due to a creeping threat from Costa Rica forward Jonathan Moya. Box. Stephen immediately ran to the sidelines and argued that Moya was offside, but it appeared that Dest, who had been drawn to the finish line, away from the play, had put the Costa Rican attackers on edge.
Dest redeemed himself brilliantly in the 25th minute. Receiving the ball on the right wing, he dribbled dangerously toward the box, coaxing the ball with his right foot before it quickly cut to his left and shot a shot with his weak leg to the top of the goal. Move it to the left corner. The flight of the ball into the net triggered an explosion of noise from the home crowd and sent Dest sprinting over the edge, where he was surrounded by his teammates and coaches.
As much as the goal, the American coach, Greg Berhalter, may have been pleased with its creation, a sweeping 13-pass move involving nine American players, who started in midfield, returned to Stefan in the goal, charging down. Done ended up on the left side of the field and on the right. America went 428 minutes without a goal in the first half, before Dest’s shot went inside.
A few days earlier, Berhalter joked with reporters that they were tired of hearing him use the term “verticality”, a reference to a direct-approach tactical concept he had repeatedly applied to a string of news conferences.
Imagine how many times the players had heard it. The US has appeared vulnerable to attack at times over the past two months, but that concept resonated on Wednesday night. Deste’s goal highlighted one of the best parts of the Americans’ attacking game in recent memory, which displayed all of the offensive principles Berhalter had been campaigning for weeks in public and behind closed doors: the ball. Without frequent and purposeful movement, quick interchanges, toward an opponent’s back line, and a general sense of urgency to push back.
The next goal came in the 66th minute. A foul play by a Costa Rican defender caused the ball to bounce at the feet of Dest, who collected it, gazed at his surroundings, and skimmed a fully-weighted pass on the way to Timothy Weah, who shot it toward the goal. Extended.
The play was later ruled out on his own goal by Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Lionel Moreira, but he celebrated it as his goal, rushing to embrace a pocket of fans in the corner.
Dest joined him there, patted the fans, rejoicing in a performance where he put all his tantric skills to devastating use.