Needing a win at home and three points to move towards qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. Mens National Team whiffed the opportunity. They dropped a 2-0 decision to Costa Rica on Matchday 7 of the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,600 at Red Bull Arena.
The U.S. will look to rebound quickly with a fast approaching Matchday 8 encounter at Honduras on Tuesday (5:30 p.m. ET; beIN Sports, UNIVERSO). The U.S. and Honduras are in a battle for CONCACAF’s third and final automatic World Cup berth, and a win at Honduras will be a tall order, especially after losing for the second time in this Hexagonal. The USMNT has also lost twice on home soil, having been beaten by Mexico in the opening game.
A loss against Honduras could greatly damage hopes of qualifying. The U.S. has qualified for every World Cup since 1990. The fourth place team in the Hexagonal will advance to a two-game series with a team from Asia with the final World Cup berth on the line.
A tight opening to the match included a legitimate penalty shot from Jozy Altidore in the 24thminute. A good bit of possession led to Christian Pulisic finding space on the right, before he centered looking for Altidore in stride. With his body between the goal and Kendall Waston, Altidore was set to receive the pass and was hauled down from behind by the Costa Rica defender before the following appeals went begging.
Costa Rica, which scored in each half, caught the U.S. off guard to take the lead on the half-hour mark. A ball out of the back was taken down by Bryan Ruiz, who played a simple pass for Marco Ureña to run into the gap in the U.S. central defense. The San Jose Earthquakes attacker held off Tim Ream before scraping his effort from the right inside the lower, left post in the 30 th minute. The clincher came in the 82nd minute. Both goals were the result of defensive mistakes and poor marking.
“Qualifying has been in jeopardy for most teams,” said U.S. coach Bruce Arena after the loss. “Right now, Mexico and Costa Rica are, I would think, I don’t know the math, probably qualified. It’s going to be a battle among the remaining four teams.
“You hate to look at one game and not look at the whole,” he added. “Tonight was not our night. We didn’t play well. We still have three games left in the competition… We’re still in position to qualify for the World Cup.”
Next on the Schedule: The MNT looks to rebound quickly when it heads to Honduras for a Matchday 8 encounter vs. Los Catracos on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Kickoff from Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula is set for 5:30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on beiN SPORTS and UNIVERSO.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
CRC – Marco Ureña (Bryan Ruiz), 30th minute: Costa Rica broke through on the half-hour mark when Ruiz picked out a gap in central defense and laid a path towards goal for Ureña. The speedy striker was tracked by Tim Ream, but created enough space in the area to fire a low effort that beat Tim Howard inside the lower, left post. USA 0, CRC 1
CRC – Marco Ureña (David Guzmán), 82nd minute: Costa Rica would kill off the game when Guzmán stepped up to cut out a U.S. pass out of the back and sprung Ureña through the U.S. defense before the striker slipped his second of the game past Howard and inside the left post. USA 0, CRC 2 FINAL
- The defeat snaps the U.S. MNT’s 14-match unbeaten streak in 2017 and is also the first loss of Bruce Arena’s second tenure as head coach.
- The U.S. moves to 15-16-6 all-time vs. Costa Rica.
- Altidore’s 79th minute yellow card was his second of World Cup Qualifying, meaning he will serve a one-match suspension during Tuesday’s game at Honduras.
- Dempsey’s substitute appearance handed him his 40th career World Cup Qualifying cap, pulling him level with Landon Donovan for first on the U.S. MNT’s all-time list.
- Altidore gathered his 39th qualifying appearance, leaving him just one behind Dempsey and Donovan.
- Full backs Jorge Villafaña and Graham Zusi made their team-leading 12 th appearances of 2017.
- Matt Hedges, Cristian Roldan and Chris Wondolowski were healthy scratches from tonight’s 23-player roster.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date: September 1, 2017
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Red Bull Arena; Harrison, New Jersey
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 26,500 (so)
Weather: 66 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
CRC 1 1 2
CRC – Marco Ureña (Bryan Ruiz) 30th minute
CRC – Marco Ureña (David Guzman) 82
USA: 1-Tim Howard, 2-Jorge Villafaña (8-Clint Dempsey, 65), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 6-Darlington Nagbe, 9-Bobby Wood, 10-Christian Pulisic (21-Paul Arriola, 87), 14-Tim Ream, 17-Jozy Altidore, 19-Graham Zusi (18-Jordan Morris, 84), 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Fabian Johnson
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 3-Omar González, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 13-Dax McCarty, 15-Eric Lichaj, 16-Kellyn Acosta
Head coach: Bruce Arena
CRC : 1-Keylor Navas; 2-Johnny Acosta, 5-Celso Borges, 7-Cristian Bolaños (4-Michael Umaña, 71), 8-Bryan Oviedo (11-Johan Venegas, 78), 10-Bryan Ruiz (capt.), 15-Francisco Calvo, 16-Cristian Gamboa (6-José Salvatierra, 71), 19-Kendall Waston, 20-David Guzman, 21-Marco Ureña
Subs not used: 18-Patrick Pemberton, 23-Leonel Moreira, 3-Kenner Gutierrez, 9-José Ortiz, 12-David Ramirez, 13-Rodney Wallace, 14-Randall Azofeifa, 17-Yeltsin Tejeda, 22-Daniel Colindres
Head coach: Óscar Ramírez
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots on Goal: 2 / 2
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 10 / 18
Offside: 3 / 1
CRC – David Guzman (caution) 13th minute
CRC – Francisco Calvo (caution) 67
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 80
USA – Clint Dempsey (caution) 90+1