GEORGE MURPHY - Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The United States remain without a win in hostile Costa Rican territory as the the new leaders of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying overran the pathetic Americans.
Bob Bradley's new experiment of DaMarcus Beasley at left back, along with a key injury to right back Frankie Hejduk and a new 4-3-3 formation, proved to be unsuccessful for the Red , White and Blue and they failed to produce any memorable chances in front of a very loud home crowd of 18,000.
Costa Rica, who are arguably the toughest away team that the United States will face in World Cup qualifying, wasted no time getting on the scoreboard after striker Alvaro Alberto Chacon Saborio capitalized on a mix-up on the left flank between Beasley and Jose Francisco Torres when he stole the ball and finished in the top far corner past a helpless Tim Howard.
Eleven minutes later, Costa Rica doubled their lead when Esteban Sirias brought the ball up their left flank where Marvell Wynne and Oguchi Onyewu were both caught out on the Costa Rican #8 . Sirias split both players and found a wide open Celso Borges in the box who finished with a first-time shot past Howard.
Landon Donovan, who, along with with Josmer Altidore and Clint Dempsey, was one of three forwards for Bob Bradley this evening, had one of the Yanks' few chances in the 16th minute with a half-volley which went well over the crossbar.
Two minutes later United States goalkeeper Howard was forced to make a near post save on Alvaro Alberto Chacon Saborio as the Costa Rica striker found himself open on a corner kick and headed the ball to the ground, barely missing his second goal of the evening.
Bob Bradley was forced to make some dramatic changes at half time after his team failed to find any attacking chances in the first half.
Sacha Kljestan came on to replace Jose Francisco Torres at halftime as the US adjusted to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation, but the change did not make an iota of difference as Borges nearly found his second immediately as he found himself open in the United States' box from a cross but failed to finish.
Michael Bradley, who missed his defensive assignment on the proceeding play, earned a yellow card caution three minutes later and will now miss the United States' next match on Saturday against Honduras in Chicago.
Costa Rica continued to dominate possession in the second half, and their hard work paid off. Pablo Herrera Barrantes, who came on for Costa Rica as a substitute in the 55th minute, found himself isolated on the left flank against Michael Bradley. The midfielder beat the exhausted Borussia Moenchengladbach man with a routine change of speed, and slotted the ball past Howard's near post for the home team's third goal of the evening.
The United States was able to get on the scoreboard after Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick one minute into stoppage time. It was the United States' first goal in Costa Rica since 2000 when Earnie Stewart was able to score in a loss against the CONCACAF opponent.
Bob Bradley and company falls to second place in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and will face Costa Rica again on October 14th at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.