November 15, 2016
USMNT routed at Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- The United States has endured and experienced more than its share of problems, headaches and struggles in Costa Rica over the years.
|Jozy Altidore had few opportunities to score.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
On Tuesday night, the Americans hit a new low, even for themselves.
They were thrashed by the Ticos, 4-0, at Estadio Nacional as the hosts struck three times during a 10-minute nightmarish span in the second half.
Second-half substitute Joel Campbell tallied twice and Johan Venegas and Christian Bolanos also scored for the Ticos, who never have lost a home qualifier to the Americans. They have a 0-9-1 mark here.
The Costa Ricans (2-0-0) moved atop the hexagonal with six points in the CONCACAF final round while the last-place Americans fell to 0-0-2. The four goals were the most surrendered by the USA in a qualifier since a 4-2 loss to Canada on October 13, 1968.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who performs for Real Madrid, did not have much work as he was credited with the shutout.
USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called the loss “a very, very bitter moment for us.”
“It’s definitely the defeat that hurts the most in my five years,” he added at a post-game press conference."
Klinsmann wasn't finished.
“It’s about taking it, swallowing it, taking responsibility — which I do — and finding a way to get that corrected,” Klinsmann said. “Now, unfortunately we have to wait a couple of months for that moment.”
The U.S. will have to wait four months for its next qualifier -- against Honduras in a venue to be determined March 24.
“It is going to be a long couple of months,” Klinsmann said.
The Ticos broke through in the 44th minute. Midfielder Rándall Azofeifa started the sequence by changing the direction of the play with a long pass to Christian Bolanos in the left corner. With his marker, defender Omar Gonzalez, giving him some room, Bolanos lofted a cross into the box that Venegas headed home from six yards at the near post past goalkeeper Brad Guzan for a 1-0 advantage.
It was all Costa Rica in the second half, striking three times within a 10-minute span. The hosts took advantage of a USA turnover in the 68th minute as midfielder Bryan Ruiz raced down the right flank to find Bolanos, who headed the ball home from six yards.
Campbell, who replaced Venegas in the 67th minute, took center stage in the 77th minute, as he latched onto a loose ball and scored from 10 yards for a three-goal advantage.
Defender Ronald Matarrita sent a ball over the USA defense to Campbell, who slotted the ball past Guzan in the 78th minute to close out the rout.
Guzan was spectacular, making several big saves to keep the USA within striking distance, particularly in the first half.
"We're going to have to look collectively real hard in the mirror at ourselves and understand it's not been a good start," captain and midfielder Michael Bradley was quoted by the BBC.
"At moments like this it does you no good to point fingers and to be looking around trying to figure out who you can throw under the bus."
The game was costly to the Americans for another reason. Defender Timothy Chandler and midfielder Jermaine Jones accrued their second yellow cards of the hexagonal. They both must sit out the USA's next game at home against Honduras on March 24.