US in peril as Urena double delivers for Costa Rica


The United States (2-3-2) with eight points is in danger of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation. It is rare to see the United States outplayed at home in a World Cup qualifier, let alone lose one, even worse two in the same cycle for the first time since the qualification process for the 1958 World Cup. The game was played in New Jersey, and after the game, goalkeeper Tim Howard wasn't happy with the US fans.

The USA now occupy third place in the standings with eight points from seven games, leading Honduras thanks to a vastly superior goal difference. On the road Costa Ricans score points with fights, tied with Honduras 1: 1, beating Trinidad 2-0 and losing to Mexico 0: 2.

It was a night when Arena opted to pair Darlington Nagbe with Michael Bradley in the center of midfield, while Tim Ream partnered Geoff Cameron in the center of defense.

Costa Rican defender Bryan Oviedo heads a ball out of the box away from USA forward Bobby Wood in the first half. Cameron's give-away pass in his own end led directly to Costa Rica's second goal. "You got a little schmutz on your face!" The US had been 9-0-5 since Arena's return, winning home qualifiers against Honduras and Trinidad and gaining draws at Panama and Mexico.

Mexico's victory sees them lead the six-nation final qualifying table in the Central America, North America and Caribbean zone (CONCACAF), with 17 points from six games and means they are guaranteed to claim one of the three automatic qualifying spots. Man for man, they were better, and their big players came through. Navas then made a sliding stop on Jozy Altidore just before Urena's second goal.

It was Costa Rica's first win in a World Cup qualifying game on USA soil since 1985.

"Now the approach is we're going to go down there with the mentality to win the game", Bradley said.

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Costa Rica now leads the all-time series between the teams 16-15-6, and the US 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.

"We obviously didn't play well on the night", Arena said.

But Arena didn't think his team was in any more peril than they were before Friday's defeat.

Bruce Arena has a lot of thinking to do before Tuesday's match in Honduras.

CONCACAF's top three teams reach the World Cup, with the fourth-place team going into a playoff against an Asian team.

"We're all very disappointed with the result and the way in which things went down, but the way the other results went on Friday, we've go to keep believing that we're still in it and carry ourselves in a manner where we can keep fighting", he added. This is how you deal in competition and sports. Remember what happened in 2013, when the U.S.'s Graham Zusi scored a late goal in Panama that saved Mexico from World Cup elimination (even though the US had already qualified)?

"We have to put this past us real quick", Arena said. We're not able to get this game back.