The Tricolour of Costa Rica stunned the USA national football team by beating them by two-goals to nothing in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match played in Harrison, New Jersey.
The first half of the match turned out to be a very explosive encounter that proceeded at a very high tempo. Costa Rica – having lost to the USA team in the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup – learned from the mistake of their last encounter. The Tricolour coach, Oscar Ramirez, set his team to play a high press that effectively prevented the home team from launching their attacking play from the rear, and the tactic also gave his team the opportunity to strike their opponent with counter-attacking football after forcing their defenders into errors.
Marco Urena gave a torrid time to Tim Ream whenever he received a pass in an advanced position of the opponent’s half. On one occasion in the early minutes of the half, he dispossessed a jittery Ream and raced with the ball into USA’s goal mouth but was unlucky not to make the chance count.
Christian Pulisic was very dangerous from the flank where his pace and dribbling runs required the concerted defending of the opponent to check his advance.
Costa Rica were equally dangerous on the counter-attack, and Brian Oviedo was very active at the left flank.
Jerzy Altidore had a chance to score for USA in the twenty sixth minute of the game but his final effort inside Costa Rica’s eighteen yard box was well-defended by the opponent ,who threw bodies into their goalmouth whenever they came under attack.
Marco Urena scored Costa Rica’s goal in the thirtieth minute of the game. The San Jose Earthquake’s player received a pass at the front of the opponent’s eighteen yard box, drove the ball to the right-hand side of the eighteen yard box and curled the ball from an oblique angle into the net.
The Stars and Stripes came into the second half in search of an equalizer. It took the good goalkeeping of Keylor Navas to prevent Jerzy Altidore and Christian Pulisic from scoring from the glaring chances they had inside Costa Rica’s penalty box.
The home team introduced Clint Dempsey, Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris at different stages of the game, but the stout defending of the Tricolour prevented USA from scoring the much needed equalizer.
Costa Rica defended everything that was thrown at them, they effectively curtailed the attacking threat of Christian Pulisic, who was very active in the first half.
A Costa Rica counter-attack resulted in David Guzman feeding a pass to Marco Urana in the advanced position of the mid-field, the San Jose Earthquake striker raced into the eighteen yard box and curled the ball into the net.
The Tricolour defended their two-goal lead to the very end of the match. This was a victory the Tricolour celebrated heartily for so many reasons ; the last time their team won the United States team in their home ground was in 1985. With today’s victory Costa Rica moved to the top of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group, though Mexico has a game in hand in the same competition.