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Do the U.S. and Mexico care about the Gold Cup anymore?

Gold Cup
 By Arch Bell

John Brooks, Timmy Chandler found wanting in humiliating Costa Rica loss

The United States World Cup qualifying campaign for Russia 2018 is in a serious condition after an alarming 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Tuesday night.

The Americans were poor from back to front for the entire 90 minutes, as the Ticos avenged the 4-0 walloping the U.S. served them in the Copa America Centenario.

The U.S. now sit rock bottom of the Hexagonal after two games and will have a long time to chew on this defeat until qualifying resumes next March.


There were very few positives, but in the spirit of selecting one, Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood showed some creativity in the rare instances that they touched the ball.


Too many to count.

The U.S. midfield failed to generate positive play and were unable to maintain possession due to the constant Costa Rican pressure. How many times was the U.S. able to string together four or five passes?

The number of errors committed by the defense was astounding, with John Brooks in particular having arguably his worst match ever in a U.S. shirt.

Manager rating out of 10

3 -- You can understand why Jurgen Klinsmann opted to go with the same 11 players who featured in the second half against Mexico, but by half-time it was abundantly clear that tweaks were needed.

With the U.S. starving for a Sacha Kljestan in midfield or a DeAndre Yedlin on the wing, Klinsmann stuck with his starting XI until it was too late. The manager has a history of rallying his team when the chips are down, but the complete opposite happened in San Jose.

Costa RicaCosta Rica
United StatesUnited States
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Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Brad Guzan, 6 -- Made a pair of huge early saves to deny Johan Venegas and Bryan Ruiz. Was faultless on the goals. Did not get much help from his defenders.

DF Timmy Chandler, 2 -- Another struggle for Chandler in a U.S. uniform. A noticeable lack of communication with Omar Gonzalez on the right side of defense. Had a second half slip that nearly gifted a goal. Was beaten by Christian Bolanos for Costa Rica's second. Sprayed his crosses everywhere. Dismal.

DF Omar Gonzalez, 4 -- Got burned by Ruiz early on and had to be bailed out by Guzan. Looked indecisive. Was beaten on a number of headers and allowed Bolanos the time and space to serve up the assist on the Venegas goal.

DF John Brooks, 2 -- The titanic defender who was the best player for the U.S. at the Copa America Centenario was missing in action on Tuesday night. This was the worst version of the player who performed so poorly at the 2015 Gold Cup. Got nutmegged early on by Venegas but was rescued by Guzan. Errors aplenty throughout and was at fault for the Venegas and Campbell goals. An abysmal display.

DF Matt Besler, 4 -- The Sporting KC man was playing out of position and considering the situation, he performed as well as he could. Could only look on helplessly as Campbell got behind him and Brooks for Costa Rica's fourth.

MF Fabian Johnson, 4 -- Spoiled two free kick chances in the first half. For a team that likes to use the set piece as a weapon, Johnson elected to fire one into the wall and then ambitiously tried to beat Keylor Navas on the second. Failed to offer service to his forwards. Anonymous in the second half until his substitution.

MF Michael Bradley, 5 -- Not enough positive balls. Seemed like Bradley was either playing balls back or was having to track back after a U.S. giveaway. Corner kicks did not threaten. Was a safety valve when the U.S. ran out of ideas when going forward, which was often.

MF Jermaine Jones, 4 -- Gave away possession a lot and also lost a number of duels. Picked up a silly yellow in the first half. The U.S. needed more from the veteran.

MF Christian Pulisic, 6 -- Quiet at start, Pulisic earned one of the free kicks wasted by Johnson. Also sent in the dangerous cross for Wood. Didn't touch the ball much, but offered hope when he actually had it at his feet.

FW Jozy Altidore, 5 -- Altidore was left frustrated by Costa Rica's physicality. His pleading of teammates to push up higher at end of first half summed up his evening. Also doomed by heavy touches.

FW Bobby Wood, 6 -- On his only real chance of the first half, was unable to get on the end of a Pulisic cross at the near post. At the end of the first half he made a great run and served up a cross himself that ran right in front of the goalmouth. With more help you wonder what he could have done.

Joel Campbell & John Brooks
Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell found it all too easy against the likes of John Brooks, left, and Matt Besler, right.


MF Lynden Gooch, 5 -- Replaced Pulisic in the 70th minute. With the match lost, tried to summon a consolation goal from the left.

MF Sacha Kljestan, N/R -- Came on for Jones in the 73rd minute but never had a chance to leave his mark.

MF Graham Zusi, N/R -- Replaced Johnson in the 77th minute. Just a few touches.

Arch Bell is based in Austin, Texas and covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .


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