The USA Football World Cup side inwards at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica on Wednesday having all but capable for the FIFA World Cup. Seated in 2nd place with twenty-five points with a comfortable lead on goal difference, a win, draw or loss by anything fewer than 6 goals would have been sufficient to get them over the line.
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Had fast struck, the worst-case scenario was an international playoff with New Zealand in June. Redemption for 2017’s unsuccessful Football World Cup prerequisite felt imminent, but focus on the task at hand never decreased in camp. We still have a job to do was the chorus echoing from head coach Gregg Berhalter to key players Tyler Adams.
Tim Weah and Deandre Yedlin through the run-up to Tuesday’s Concacaf succeeding finale. And despite the math that was considered heavily in their favour, Berhalter and co on Wednesday put to rest conjecture the side would rotate players or be happy with a draw. The task was a condition, but the manner of qualification signified. The players carried a want to win.
To make a point, to permission a mark, to do what every USA side before them had failed to do: win a Qatar Football World Cup qualifying game away in Costa Rica. As for the hosts, the atmosphere was celebratory and confident. The 35,062-seat bandbox was crowded and cheering. After a remarkable run of 5 wins and one draw in their final 6 games, Los Ticos had elbowed their way into a qualifying argument.
They arrived at Wednesday’s match composed to snag the fourth-place playoff spot and, no doubt looking forward deliberately toward that game, they sat some key players, counting Joel Campbell and Bryan Oviedo, to guard against potential yellow card buildup that would sit them out of that one-off in June. The United States out-possessed the Costa Ricans ever.
So somewhat throughout a scoreless 1st half. They hid them in the free kick and corner accrual, winning seven corners but changing none. They looked intimidating in places and did good work getting the ball forward, particularly from the right side. They held Costa Rica well sensitively and were setting the pace of the game. The opening minutes of the 2nd half saw the United States’ best opportunity on goal.
It felt like the second the Americans would take the lead, capitalizing on the drive built in the 1st half and sending the USA on their way to make history in succeeding. Miles Robinson was well located in front of the net looking intimidating, where he received a cross and sent it toward the net with a header that felt certain to slot in were it not for an unbelievable save from Keylor Navas.
And with that save, the lights went out. Moments later, Costa Rica won an angle on the conflicting end of the pitch. Brandon Aguilera took the try, sending it to Juan Pablo Vargas who hurled it past USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen, putting Costa Rica ahead in the 51st. In a game that eventually came down to capitalizing and defending on set bits, the United States had taken 7 corners.
By then and came away with the unknown and Costa Rica had just changed its third corner into a goal. The drive shaft on the pitch and in the stands was abrupt. Eight minutes later, Anthony Contreras snuck in behind Antonee Robinson to tap in Costa Rica’s 2nd goal off another cross before an elated troop.
Still aggressive, still hoping, Berhalter sent in three subs closely. Jesus Ferreira, Giovanni Reyna and Shaq Moore entered, joining Luca de la Torre who had gone in at the half as replacements. But the USA would never quite regain the energy or control the pace of the game. They won a handful more corners but were again unsuccessful to make whatever out of them.
They strapped the ball forward and kept on the attack, but were decelerated by fouls and tight defending. The horde roared behind the home side, sending the thrust their way. Los Ticos looked goal-dangerous until the last whistle. The game ended 2-0 in favour of the hosts. Despite the product, despite the letdown to grasp hold of history with their 1st ever-qualifying win in Costa Rica.
The United States finished the essential task before them, the 1 they set out to achieve 8 months ago in El Salvador: officially punching their ticket to Qatar Football World Cup. Canada, who secured their 1st Football World Cup trip since 1986 with a win on Sunday, did top of the group with 28 points after a 1-0 loss at Panama. Mexico won 2-0 against El Salvador to move in advance of the US into 2nd place and clinch their 8 straight FIFA World Cup appearance.
After all that worry and clamour over Tata Martino’s job, Mexico was over with 28 points. And the 4 points the USA took from Mexico look attractive and good right now, especially after the side dropped points to El Salvador, Jamaica and Panama. The so-called Golden Generation has made it finished one of the biggest grinds in the sport. The skill will only help them. For more know about Football World Cup Tickets click here.
So now they move on to their main challenge negotiating a collective haggling agreement that guarantees equal pay for women. And then the World Cup, presumptuous immunological and sociopolitical issues don’t trespass on the party. Good night, good morning, and enjoy the rest of your club terms.
David Archibald writes Bad news: There is no bad news. Costa Rica will easily weary New Zealand. I presume you were that poised that Italy would beat North Macedonia too? A 1 off the game. Don’t forget, NZ hasn’t lost a match at the WC since 1982. See I can make stupid comments too. Berklee College of Music football. Still winning.
FWIW, I was current when New Zealand’s earned their 1st point at the Football World Cup with a late 2-goal comeback against Mexico. The coach of that New Zealand team? John Herdman. He now trainers the top men’s team in Concacaf, even if their equalizer in Panama was taken away by VAR. Give some glory to Costa Rica.
Which I’ve previously predicted will easily beat New Zealand and succeed in the Qatar Football World Cup yet again, but that’s 2 straight matches in which their home mystique, rather than the players, accounted for their win. They’re not better than Canada, whom they beat 6 days ago, and they were not better than the USA Football World Cup side tonight.
The story forming previously is that the USA barely fit. And that’s essentially true. But this team is better through the cycle, arguably outplaying three of their top 4 opponents 2 on the road in their last 3 matches. Berhalter needs to come up with some better ideas on set shards, and the goalkeeping job is wide-open. Better to learn that now than later. And the USA men have qualified for the Football World Cup.
From what I experiential most of his free kicks and corner thrills were poorly taken tonight. The corners were usually hit too long. They did at least have Miles Robinson open on a couple of those long corner kicks initial, but Costa Rica figured that out finally, and the rest of the free kicks and corners were skilful nothing.
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