After John Brooks made a brilliant defensive play in the opening stanza to deny Paraguay a clear cut shot at goal, the USA settled into the match and began to take control. Near the half-hour mark, Gyasi Zardes fed Dempsey for what proved to be the game winner.
In the second half the U.S. team pulled together to record its second consecutive clean sheet in tournament play after Yedlin was ejected two minutes after the break for two bookable offenses in less than two minutes.
The USA (2-1-0, 6pts) is now guaranteed of advancing to the knockout stage and temporarily moves atop Group A based on goal differential. The U.S. would retain that position should Colombia (2-0-0, 6pts) lose to Costa Rica (0-1-1, 1pt) by five or fewer goals in the day’s late game. Paraguay (0-2-1, 1pt) drops to the bottom of the group standings pending the result of the Colombia-Costa Rica match.
The US made it 3-0 five minutes later when Dempsey fed Wood, now playing centrally, at the top of the penalty area, and the Hawaiian-born striker turned his man before firing a shot inside the near post.
Costa Rica created two good second half chances, but Celso Borges flicked his shot over the net in the 55th minute, and Bryan Ruiz headed a short corner kick against the left post in the 67th minute.
U.S. substitute Graham Zusi wrapped things up in the 87th minute with a steal and a low, left-footed finish, while goalkeeper Brad Guzan made two saves to record the shutout.
With three points, the U.S. will close group play on Saturday against Paraguay in Philadelphia.