HARRISON, N.J. (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 2-0 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).
A tight opening to the match included a legitimate penalty shout from Jozy Altidore in the 24th minute. 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 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 30th minute.
The U.S. fired back when a nice bit of skill from Altidore up the right allowed him to set up Christian Pulisic in the area, but his first-time effort was blocked at the near post by Waston, allowing Costa Rica to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.
Ream nearly made amends for the Costa Rica goal after the break. An early second-half corner kick from Graham Zusi picked out the center back, who rose at the six-yard box where he nodded his effort down, only to see it bounce over the cross bar.
With the U.S. still looking for a goal after the hour mark, Clint Dempsey entered the match and sent a deflected free kick into the path of Pulisic whose first-time shot was only kept out thanks to a sweeping paw from sprawling Costa Rica ‘keeper Keylor Navas.
Navas came up big again in the 81st minute when Altidore got on the end of a long ball from Geoff Cameron, only to see the Real Madrid backstop come up with a point-blank stop at the top of the six-yard box. The Ticos struck the fatal blow just a minute later when David Guzmán intercepted a pass out of the back quickly slipped a ball through the U.S. backline to find Ureña in stride, who tucked home his effort in the 82nd minute to provide the final 2-0 score line.
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 [WATCH]
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 [WATCH] FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
CRC – Francisco Calvo and Kendall Waston, 26th minute: Just moments after a penalty shout from Jozy Altidore went begging, the MNT came close with its first clear cut chance of the match. High pressure in midfield paid off when Michael Bradley did well to read a pass from Bryan Ruiz, chesting down the effort as he strolled toward goal. With numbers moving forward, Bradley slid the ball to Altidore on the left, who drove to the end line before centering a ball looking for Bobby Wood, only to see Calvo and Waston turn the effort away inside the six-yard box.
CRC – Kendall Waston, 38th minute: Galvanized after going down 1-0, the U.S. came close again after Zusi flicked on a nice pass in stride down the right for Altidore. The veteran forward held the ball up before playing a ball outside and split David Guzman and Calvo. With a free lane towards the end line, Altidore centered a pass at the near post for Pulisic, but his first-time effort was blocked by Waston inside the six.
CRC – Keylor Navas, 67th minute: Just seconds after entering the match, Clint Dempsey lined up a free kick 20 yards from goal. His right-footed take deflected into the area where Bradley laid it back for Pulisic whose effort deflected off Cristian Gamboa squirting through towards goal. There, Navas was already sprawling from the initial shot, but held his left paw up to keep Costa Rica ahead.
CRC – Keylor Navas, 81st minute: A ball over the top from Geoff Cameron saw Altidore muscle off Costa Rica defender Johnny Acosta to gain entry into the area. Altidore gained enough space to fire a point-blank effort, but Navas was alert off his line to turn it away at the six-yard-box.
- 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 12th 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; 19-Graham Zusi (18-Jordan Morris, 84), 20-Geoff Cameron, 14-Tim Ream, 2-Jorge Villafaña (8-Clint Dempsey, 65); 10-Christian Pulisic (21-Paul Arriola, 87), 6-Darlington Nagbe, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson; 9-Bobby Wood, 17-Jozy Altidore
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; 16-Cristian Gamboa (6-José Salvatierra, 71), 15-Francisco Calvo, 2-Johnny Acosta, 19-Kendall Waston, 8-Bryan Oviedo (11-Johan Venegas, 78); 7-Cristian Bolaños (4-Michael Umaña, 71), 20-David Guzman, 5-Celso Borges, 10-Bryan Ruiz (capt.); 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
Referee: John Pitti (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronald Bruna (PAN)
Fourth Official: José Kellys (PAN)