WCQ: USMNT 0 - Costa Rica 2

Anita Tucker
September 4, 2017

To a man, the players on the USA men's national team said they're not anxious about their World Cup qualifying prospects in the wake of Friday's 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica.

For only the fourth time in 32 years, the United States lost a home qualifier, and as it turned out, the first World Cup game ever in the metropolitan area.

It was a US-based player who heaped misery on the 1994 host as San Jose Earthquakes forward Marco Urena scored twice for Costa Rica on Saturday (AEST). On the night, we didn't make any plays that mattered.

"We didn't capitalize on potential opportunities". "We weren't good, we know that, but we can't dwell on it. I thought they outplayed us and outcoached us tonight".

Tim Ream was paired with Geoff Cameron in central defense, and Bobby Wood started at forward with Jozy Altidore for the United States' World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Friday night.

Altidore almost provided the US the equalizer it was seeking in the 80th minute, but Navas came up big once again, stuffing the forward's attempt from close range.

"This is our reality at the moment", captain Michael Bradley said.

"It didn't look like he got much on the shot, and Tim [Howard] perhaps lost his angle in the goal a little bit, and he was able to roll it in. Us and Panama and Honduras play a few games, and at the end one will go to the World Cup, one will go to the play-off and one will be out". Some indecision allowed Urena to turn USA defender Tim Ream, before beating Tim Howard with a well-placed strike into the far corner of the net.

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"[Pulisic] had a tough game today and obviously they paid a lot of attention to him", said Arena. "We had to break down seven or eight players for long periods of the game". Arena asked his central defenders to be superstars, and they were incapable of that.

What: The USA men's national soccer team faces Honduras in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Final Round game. A draw or win against the Catrachos would leave the U.S.in position to secure a berth with wins against Panama on October 6 at Orlando, Florida, and at last-place Trinidad and Tobago four days later.

The win provisionally lifted the Costa Ricans to the top of the Hexagonal table, while the Americans remained in the third place.

As for Tuesday in the heat of Honduras, and the now not certain prospects of qualifying, Arena attempted to keep the loss, and the other results around the Hex, in perspective.

But Arena didn't think his team was in any more peril than they were before Friday's defeat. "Of course, the past year's been a roller coaster", Pulisic said.

I'm still scratching my head over Ureña's first-half goal on a trademark Tico counter that put Costa Rica ahead.

"We'll move on. This is how you deal in competition sports". Since he plays for Costa Rica, the midfielder quickly put the ball right back down Cameron's throat, playing Urena through the center for the easiest of finishes.

Both goals were products of giveaways in bad spots, but the Costa Ricans also controlled midfield for the majority of the match and bottled up the Americans when they got within sight of goal. They also swarmed Pulisic any time he was near the ball, taking away the Americans' best player for extended stretches.

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