Costa Rica deals blow to US World Cup hopes

The United States was beaten 2-0 by Costa Rica in Harrison, New Jersey, and opened the door for Honduras to draw level on eight points in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table.

Tim Howard reacts in the USA goal after Costa Rica opened the scoring against the U.S.

Costa Rica has been historically bad on its travels, but was perhaps buoyed by the curious decision to stage the game in a location where crowd support would be evenly split.

"For me, everything happened a little bit too fast".

Germany's 2-1 win at the Czech Republic was the world champion's seventh straight win in qualifying and maintained its five-point lead over Northern Ireland atop Group C with three rounds left.

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The top three teams in the group qualify automatically for Russian Federation and the fourth-placed side goes into a play off with a team from Asia.

Arena must now somehow turnaround his team's display for next week's clash with Honduras. The team Costa Rica lost Gold Cup tournament in Semi Finals. "The more that he went down that side, I was anxious about him slotting the ball near post because Timmy [Ream] was on his back shoulder". "We lost to a team that played better than us tonight".

Costa Rica picked up another three points in the standings to remain in second place, now six points ahead of the USA, which sits in third place, one point ahead of Panama. Minus the injured Joel Campbell, the Ticos threw out their strongest possible XI, set up in their 5-4- 1 and set out to soak up attacking pressure, press and then pick the U.S. off on the counter, which they executed to perfection.

The United States is now sitting in third with eight points after two wins, two draws and two losses after six games played.

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Tim Ream and Geoff Cameron started in the center of defense, flanked by Jorge Villafana and Graham Zusi.

Asked if he believed the team had the character to close out the qualification campaign successfully and reach an eighth successive World Cup finals, he replied: "We're gonna find that out aren't we?"

The best US efforts both came midway through the second half and Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas thwarted both, reaching up with his right hand to stop a Christian Pulisic shot, then smothering an attempt by Jozy Altidore minutes later. Panama plays T&T at home on Tuesday, and after facing the USA will host Costa Rica on the last day of qualifying. The game will kick-off at 6:55 p.m. ET, 3:55 p.m. PT. It makes even more sense with Jozy Altidore's yellow-card suspension.

Front line: With Altidore suspended, I'd like to see Bobby Wood get a chance to be a lone forward who can stretch the defense.

The most obvious replacement for Altidore is veteran Clint Dempsey, but Arena also has Jordan Morris and Chris Wondolowski at his disposal.

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RIP CURRENTS AND EROSION: Dangerous rip currents are likely Monday and Tuesday as gusty northeast winds create very rough surf. Additionally, the low-pressure system in tandem with strong high pressure over the Northeast will create an onshore wind flow.

  • Theresa Obrien