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2018 World Cup Qualifying - CONCACAF, CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - Hexagonal
  • Marcos UreƱa (30', 82')

Costa Rica deals U.S. hammer blow in World Cup quest

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United States 0-2 Costa Rica: USMNT take massive blow (2:20)

The U.S. stumbled in their World Cup qualifying campaign with a difficult home defeat to Costa Rica. (2:20)

Marco Urena scored twice as Costa Rica beat the United States 2-0 to hand the Americans a major setback in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign.

Clint Dempsey started on the bench for the U.S., with manager Bruce Arena electing to play Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore up front while pairing Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream in the center of the defense. Ream nearly gifted Costa Rica the opener, turning the ball over in his own half to Bryan Ruiz, who spared the Fulham man blushes by making a mess of things after a nice run on goal.

Christian Pulisic was lively up the right flank in the opening 20 minutes and looked to have set up Altidore in the 23rd minute, but the U.S. striker was taken down from behind, and no penalty was given.

Minutes later, Michael Bradley played Altidore into the penalty area, but his subsequent centering pass right across the goalmouth was cleared to safety by the Costa Rica defense.

The U.S. were made to pay on the half-hour mark, when an inch-perfect through ball sprang Urena and the San Jose Earthquakes striker cut to his right and fired a shot past Tim Howard to put the Ticos in front.

Chasing a goal, the U.S. opened the second half at a fever pitch, with Wood getting on the end of a Howard punt and nearly beating Keylor Navas in the Costa Rica goal.

In the 55th minute, Pulisic curled a perfect ball across the Ticos goalmouth, but it was just out of the reach of Altidore.

Dempsey, seeking his record 58th goal for the U.S. national team, came on in the 64th minute to try to work his magic for the trailing Americans.

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.

Minutes later, another U.S. giveaway led to Costa Rica's second, with Cristian Guzman finding Urena, who took one touch and fired home an unstoppable shot past Howard to make it 2-0.

This loss snaps the United States' unbeaten streak of 17 competitive home games vs. Costa Rica. The Americans' only previous home loss was in a 1985 World Cup qualifier.

The United States plays its next qualifier on Tuesday away to Honduras in desperate need of a win. Costa Rica will host Mexico on the same day.

WC Qual - CONCACAF News