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Captain Clint hits winner for USA

Clint Dempsey led by example to grab the winner as the USA secured a vital World Cup qualifying win against Costa Rica in blizzard conditions in Denver.

Clint captained the team and struck the only goal of the game in the 17th minute when a shot by Jozy Altidore was deflected into his path and he tapped into an empty net.

He completed the 90 minutes in a game threatened by the snowy conditions in front of a full house at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

It meant the US bounced back from defeat against Honduras in their first match of the final qualifying stage in the North/Central America and Caribbean zone.

Honduras drew with Mexico - the Mexican's second draw in two games - so Clint's strike took the USA up to second in the group of six teams, who play each other home and away in this qualifying phase, with the top three going straight to the finals in Brazil in 2014.

"It wasn’t the prettiest game but we grinded out a result and got a clean sheet," Clint told afterwards.

"There was a little bit of a lucky deflection (for the winning goal), and I just happened to be following the play. If I would’ve missed that one, I would’ve been crying all night."

On being captain, he added: "You just got to make sure your being smart out there, making sure your putting out a good shift and leading by example. Maybe when you lose the ball, you’re chasing down lost causes. It’s in the back of your head a little bit more to give a little bit of that extra effort."