It wasn’t easy, but the U.S. men’s national team still found a way to get the job done against Costa Rica on Wednesday. The U.S. national team gave up a goal after just 60 seconds, but it managed to turn the result around for an important 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory in Columbus.
After Costa Rica’s Keysher Fuller bounced a cross into the back of the net inside the first minute, the USA recovered to equalize on a stunning goal by Sergino Dest. That served to ease the team’s nerves and the USA proceeded to dictate the match with the game-winner coming on a shot by Tim Weah that went off the post and the Costa Rican ‘keeper before crossing the line. The Americans caught a break that the Costa Rican goalkeeper in question wasn’t Keylor Navas of Paris Saint-Germain, who departed at halftime with an adductor injury, making way for backup Leonel Moreira.
Against the youngest World Cup qualifying starting lineup ever fielded by the U.S. national team, a decidedly older Costa Rican side struggled to keep up as the match wore on. That was most evident at 1-1 when Costa Rica’s 36-year-old captain Bryan Ruiz intercepted a U.S. pass and was breaking in one-on-one against the goalkeeper. But 24-year-old defender Miles Robinson smoothly recovered to make up for his mistake and poked the ball away in the nick of time.
MORE: CONCACAF qualifying standings, schedule & results
U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter reintroduced seven players into the starting lineup, and also gave a first start to center back Chris Richards. The other move that generated plenty of discussion was goalkeeper Matt Turner’s relegation to the bench in favor of Zack Steffen. Winger Paul Arriola suffered a right groin injury during warmups and was replaced in the starting lineup by Weah.
The U.S. national team closes the October window with 11 points from six matches and it sits in second place in the standings behind Mexico. The next match for the Americans is a showdown against the same Mexicans on Friday, Nov. 12.
USA vs. Costa Rica final score
CRC — Keysher Fuller (Ronald Matarrita) — 1st min.
USA — Sergino Dest — 25th min.
USA — Leonel Moreira (own goal) — 66th min.
USA vs. Costa Rica live updates, highlights from World Cup qualifier
Standings and results: Updated World Cup qualifying table
(All times Eastern)
FINAL: USA 2, Costa Rica 1
87th min.: Chance for Costa Rica on a set piece! Bryan Ruiz commits the hand ball on the play, but it was close. Before the play Gyasi Zardes came on for Pepi and Walker Zimmerman is on for Brenden Aaronson.
84th min.: SUBS – The old guard coming on. Alvaro Saborio, Kendall Waston and Christian Bolanos all come on.
82nd min.: Excellent cross by Busio and the ‘keeper missed it, but Matthew Hoppe couldn’t react in time and it goes past his head. A half-chance for USA.
77th min.: SUB – And there’s the U.S. sub. It’s Gianluca Busio on for Yunus Musah in central midfield. Like-for-like sub.
73rd min.: SUBS – USA brings on DeAndre Yedlin and Matthew Hoppe for Sergino Dest and Tim Weah. It looks like Gianluca Busio is coming on next.
70th min.: The USA is pouring it on. It’s a near own goal by Costa Rica, but Moreira reacts in time before the ball goes over the goal line. It was Francisco Calvo stopping a cross from getting to Ricardo Pepi that caused the commotion.
68th min.: Another quick USMNT move and Tim Weah fires another shot which Moreira stops this time.
66th min.: Goal USA! Keysher Fuller lets the ball get past him and it goes to Sergino Dest, who immediately sends Tim Weah through and his first time shot went off the near post and then off the goalkeeper Moreira. It’s 2-1 USA.
56th min.: What a chance for Costa Rica! Captain Bryan Ruiz intercepts a Miles Robinson pass and runs in alone on goal, but it’s Miles Robinson who catches the 36-year-old and pokes the ball away. Five or 10 years ago, that play is a goal for Costa Rica. What a let-off for the USA.
What are you guys doing? 😳