Costa Rica stuns United States men's national team in World Cup qualifier

Marcos Urena's brace led Costa Rica to a 2-0 win over the US Men's National Team Friday night in New Jersey.

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. "Our attacking players weren't unsafe on the night".

Urena then pounced on another sloppy piece of U.S. defending eight minutes from time to complete a miserable night for the hosts.

Costa Rica's tactical gameplan wasn't a mystery to Arena, nor any of the XI that took the field. Los Canaleros will be expected to win when they host Trinidad & Tobago Tuesday in Panama City, making it even more imperative that the US gets a result in San Pedro Sula before it welcomes Panama to Orlando on Matchday 9. Nagbe struggled to provide much defensive help to Bradley, and the two center-backs fared even worse, looking out of sync and misplaying several situations that resulted in chances for the visitors.

"You have to rely on the referee's judgment, and those calls didn't go our way tonight", said Altidore.

In the 81st minute, Geoff Cameron lofted a ball over the top to Altidore, but Navas again came up big to stone the striker. "We weren't good tonight, we know that, but we can't dwell on it".

"We'll have to go to Honduras now and win", midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said.

Yes, Ream is an experienced veteran, but the level and quality of that experience - he's a regular starter for a good-but-not-great Championship side in Fulham that allows a lot of goals - doesn't really suggest that he should be playing regularly at this level, especially not paired with a defender like Cameron who has a similar skillset.

It's still hard to imagine Panama finishing in the top three because that would likely mean they'd have to obtain wins against the USA and Costa Rica, along with their upcoming match against Trinidad. One of them was hosting the game at Red Bull Arena. Or, for that matter, having to win far, far from home in Port of Spain - a game that would rekindle memories of the last 1989 qualifier in which the Americans broke T&T hearts with a 1-0 triumph. I think he got a little frustrated. The US, though they certainly seemed prepared for it, could not find a way to pick the lock and therefore left themselves very vulnerable, no matter the individual performances.

This loss really tightens up the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings and makes for some nervous games ahead for the USMNT.

The result means the United States remain in third place in the six-team qualifying group, with just eight points from seven games. The top three finishers will advance automatically to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation next summer, while the fourth-place finisher will face an Asian team in a two-legged World Cup playoff in November.


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