United States vs. Costa Rica

04 September, 2017, 11:28 | Author: Evan Mason
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The likelihood is it's going to go down to the wire.

Ureña put Costa Rica on top in the 30th minute by converting a through ball down the right side from Bryan Ruiz.

Nothing went right for the United States on the night, not the tactics, not the 50-50 battles and certainly not the 50-50 refereeing decisions.

Perhaps the US should be anxious, because there was plenty to be concerned about with regard to this performance. Man for man, they were better, and their big players came through.

Costa Rica now leads the all-time series between the teams 16-15-6, and the USA has lost to Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier on home soil for the first time since May 31, 1985, in Torrance, California, ending an eight-match unbeaten streak.

Following a free kick, Navas was called into action again when a Pulisic shot from 12 yards took a wicked deflection, and the Real Madrid keeper somehow got a hand on it to keep the ball out of the net. Ream struggled as the primary defender on the play; the spacing between Ream and Cameron was too wide; and Tim Howard contributed as well with positioning that felt slightly off on the hard-angled shot.

There were times when the approach work clicked, only for the attack to come unstuck in the final phase.

This led Arena to fielding Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream together in the center - the two have never played togther in that position - and Graham Zusi at right back.

"[Urena] kept shifting the ball, and then obviously he was getting ready to hit it", he said. Arena said at the time that his decision was connected to Howard's increased recovery time needed after his injury late a year ago.

It was just their third home loss in qualifying since 1985 - and came 16 years to the day the USA and Arena lost 3-2 to Honduras at Washington's RFK Stadium.

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"There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves, and we're not". You don't win every game.

Both teams have been among the best in this hexagonal stage of the qualifiers and are favorites to make it to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. "We had to break down seven or eight players for long periods of the game".

Panama remain firmly in contention in fifth place, one point behind the U.S. and Honduras with seven points.

The U.S. was losing the game, and its cool, in equal measure. The host Ticos have all but clinched a berth to Russian Federation, so there will be some questions about the roster that comes in for this game as well as how motivated Costa Rica will be.

There is a scenario that allows the U.S.to clinch its eighth straight World Cup berth on Tuesday at Honduras. But that will require some aspects of the Americans' game to change.

Pulisic worked hard in the midfield to try and get the USA back into the game, but was left frustrated on the night as Costa Rica made things difficult for him smothered him every time he got his foot onto the ball. "They outplayed us and outcoached us tonight".

"(Pulisic) had a tough game today", Arena said.

That was a characterization that Bradley didn't seem to dispute. It didn't help that Fabian Johnson was ineffective for the second consecutive appearance in a row, the first one coming back in June against T&T. The most notable absence is right-back DeAndre Yedlin who is still recovering from a hamstring injury. The U.S. defense was also badly exposed thanks in large part to their tactical setup, which left Michael Bradley essentially alone in midfield as a shield for the defense, with Darlington Nagbe and both wingers spending much of the match pushed high.

With a win Tuesday, the Americans would.




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