Clint Dempsey got his 100th cap and scored the United States' lone goal tonight in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss at Costa Rica. Sounders forward Eddie Johnson played 32 minutes off the bench for the USA.
Here's a report from U.S. Soccer:
The U.S. Men's National Team fell victim to a poor start, losing to Costa Rica 3-1 in its seventh World Cup qualifying match of the Hexagonal. The Americans went down 2-0 inside the first 10 minutes of the match. The USA now needs a win against Mexico in its next World Cup qualifier on Sept. 10 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, combined with a Honduras win or draw at home against Panama to clinch a berth to the world's biggest sporting event. The USA-Mexico game will be broadcast live on Tuesday on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas at 8 p.m. ET. Mexico lost to Honduras 2-1 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City and is desperate for a result against the Jurgen Klinsmann's team. The USA will finish World Cup qualifying with matches on Oct. 11 against Jamaica at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas (5:30 p.m. CT on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas) and Oct. 15 against Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Panama (10 p.m. ET on beIN Sport). The USA dropped to second place with 13 points behind leaders Costa Rica (14 points) and ahead of Honduras (10) and Mexico (8). Panama (7) and Jamaica (3) split the points in their meeting Friday night with a 0-0 draw. The USA suffered an unusual setback before the game started when midfielder Michael Bradley suffered an ankle injury during warm-ups and was replaced in the starting lineup by Cameron. Costa Rica scored just two minutes into the game, exactly as it did in its last home World Cup qualifier against the USA in 2009 (also a 3-1 win for the Ticos). The home team sent the sell-out crowd into frenzy after converting a corner kick. Joel Campbell whipped in a cross and Johnny Acosta knifed through to win the ball with his head, beating Clint Dempsey to redirect his effort just inside the near post. The ball bounced off the head of DaMarcus Beasley, who tried to clear, but could not turn it out of the net. Costa Rica doubled its lead on the cusp of nine minutes, and once again it came from a header. This time Cristian Bolaños ran onto a short pass down the left wing, cut back and lofted a high cross to the far post. Celso Borges, streaking from midfield, jumped high to out-muscle Beasley and powered his header back across the goal into the lower left corner. After the poor start, the Americans settled down a bit as the half wore on and started taking back some of the possession. The USA's first quality scoring chance came in the 29th minute when Cameron ran onto a loose ball and with a hard touch took it into the left side of the penalty area before crossing into the middle. The pass was deflected by a defender and it skipped to Fabian Johnson, who blasted a first-time left-footed shot on frame that goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved only through pure reaction, throwing up his hands to somehow deflect the ball outside the left post. Johnson was at the crux of the play that created the USA's goal as he sprinted under a quickly taken free kick from Graham Zusi, who chipped a ball over the Costa Rica defense. Johnson did not get a piece of the ball as it skipped off the turf, but Navas certainly got a piece of him, scything the U.S. midfielder down at the top of the penalty area on a play that got a yellow card and perhaps deserved a red. Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez immediately pointed to the spot and Dempsey stepped up to pull the USA to within one. The U.S. captain celebrated his 100th match for his country with his eighth goal in this World Cup qualifying, blasting the ball almost straight up the middle but a shade to Navas' right. Although the Costa Rican goalkeeper guessed correctly, the ball was struck with such pace that it ricocheted off his body and into the right side netting. The USA pressed for an equalizer throughout the second half and Dempsey had a tremendous chance to tie the game in the 56th minute. After a Donovan cross from the left side found Dempsey, he lost a defender with a classic pull-back at the top of the penalty box and struck a left-footed shot that seemed to have Navas beaten but agonizingly clanged off the outside of the post. Dempsey also had a chance in the 70th minute but did not quite get enough snap on his header from a Donovan cross, bouncing into the arms of Navas. Riding a record five-game streak in which he has scored for the USA, forward Jozy Altidore entered the game in the 71st minute. Altidore had been bothered by a hamstring injury earlier in the week, but he did create some danger. Unfortunately, one of his most dangerous forays led to a counter-attack that sealed the game. Just when it was looking like the USA could produce an equalizer, Altidore cut in powerfully from the left side and struck a shot that was blocked. Jose Miguel Cubero cleared the ball, and it turned out to be a perfect long pass over the top to Campbell, who was onside just in front of the midfield stripe. He took off toward the U.S. goal, outrunning and holding off Matt Besler. He took one touch before slipping the ball under the charging Howard and into the net from 15 yards out. While holding the one-goal lead, the Costa Ricans defended with tremendous effort as they sat back to preserve the win, then got the goal off the counter-attack and salted away the two-goal victory, putting themselves in excellent position to qualify for their first World Cup since 2006. The USA also saw three players shown yellow cards, which means all three - Cameron, Besler and Altidore - will be suspended for the Mexico game. Additional Notes: • The loss ended the USA's record winning streak at 12 games, just three shy of the world record for consecutive wins in full internationals set by Spain. • The loss dropped the USA's overall record to 13-3-2 and 4-2-1 in the Hexagonal. • The loss kept alive a streak of never winning an away World Cup qualifying in Costa Rica. The USA is now 0-8-1 in games played in Costa Rica, with the previous eight matches taking place at the antiquated Saprissa Stadium. • Geoff Cameron got his a yellow card in the 62nd minute for a foul from behind on Joel Campbell. Matt Besler was shown a yellow in the 78 th for an alleged off-the-ball foul, also on Campbell. Altidore got a yellow card for ramming his shoulder into a Costa Rican defender during second half stoppage time. • Clint Dempsey and Omar Gonzalez are the only players to have started all seven games in the Hexagonal. • Landon Donovan returned to World Cup Qualifying action for the first time since June 12, 2012, a 1-1 draw in Guatemala, an absence spanning 10 matches. • Donovan is the USA's all-time leader in World Cup Qualifying appearances (38). • Besler and Gonzalez have been the center back pairing for the last five qualifiers, beginning with the historic 0-0 draw against Mexico on March 26 in Mexico City. • The U.S. is now 6-9-3 all-time in World Cup Qualifying against Costa Rica. The result tied the all-time series at 13-13-6. • Landon Donovan (2001, 2009, 2013) and DaMarcus Beasley (2005, 2009, 2013) have each played three times in qualifiers in Costa Rica. • The U.S. MNT currently holds a record plus-24 goal differential in 2013. The USA has outscored its opponents 44-20 this year, ranking ahead of the USA's 2000 campaign when the squad outscored its opponents 34-11 (plus-23 goal differential). • Now with 36 goals, Clint Dempsey is second on the USA's all-time scoring list behind Donovan. • Since falling to the United States on March 22 in Colorado, the Costa Ricans are unbeaten in their last four World Cup Qualifiers, going 4-0-1. That includes four wins at home and a 0-0 draw in Mexico. • The match marked Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan's first game together since June 12, 2012, a 1-1 tie with Guatemala • Michael Orozco started at right back in his first WCQ appearance since Oct. 15, 2008.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.