US in free fall fol­low­ing Costa Rica loss

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

UNITED States coach Jur­gen Klinsmann said his team’s 4-0 thrash­ing by Costa Rica was the most dispir­it­ing loss of his reign on Novem­ber 15 as he re­flected on back-to-back World Cup qual­i­fy­ing de­feats.

“It’s def­i­nitely the de­feat that hurts the most in my five years, for sure,” a somber Klinsmann ad­mit­ted af­ter watch­ing Costa Rica dis­man­tle his men on a sul­try night at San Jose’s Es­ta­dio Na­cional.

Arse­nal’s Joel Camp­bell scored twice in three sec­ond-half min­utes af­ter Johan Vene­gas and Christian Bolanos had put the 2014 World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal­ists 2-0 ahead.

The drub­bing, which fol­lowed a shat­ter­ing 2-1 loss at home to Mex­ico in Colum­bus last week, leaves the United States bot­tom of the CONCACAF re­gion’s six-team fi­nal round of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

Al­though there are still plenty of points to play for with eight games re­main­ing, Klinsmann ad­mit­ted he had not an­tic­i­pated fail­ing to take a point from the open­ing two games.

“It’s a bit­ter mo­ment for us. There’s no doubt about it,” Klinsmann said.

“We didn’t imag­ine we’d start the Hexag­o­nal with two de­feats right at the be­gin­ning.

“We knew it was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult play­ing Mex­ico and Costa Rica in the first two games. But ob­vi­ously you want to have some points.

“This is def­i­nitely a mo­ment to re­flect on what hap­pened in the last 10 days. I said to the players it won’t be the only 4-0 de­feat in their ca­reer.

“But hope­fully they’ll take some lessons from this. Def­i­nitely it’s bit­ter be­cause we wanted to do far bet­ter than we did.”

Team USA has played in ev­ery World Cup since the 1990 fi­nals in Italy. The top three fin­ish­ers in the CONCACAF round-robin tour­na­ment qual­ify au­to­mat­i­cally for Rus­sia, while the fourth-placed side en­ters a play-off.

The drub­bing is cer­tain to re­new spec­u­la­tion about Klinsmann’s po­si­tion.

The Ger­man World Cup win­ner has faced re­peated crit­i­cism of his tac­tics and per­son­nel over the past year.

Against the Costa Ri­cans on Novem­ber 15 his team were out­played and fell be­hind shortly be­fore half-time when “Los Ti­cos” went ahead with a soft goal.

Slack de­fend­ing from Omar Gon­za­lez al­lowed Bolanos to get to the by­line and cross for Vene­gas, left un­marked by John Brooks, to head home past Brad Guzan.

Bolanos made it 2-0 in the 69th minute, prod­ding home from close range af­ter an ex­quis­ite cross with the out­side of the boot by Bryan Ruiz.

The sec­ond Costa Rica goal was the cue for an ab­ject col­lapse in the US de­fence and once again Brooks was at fault.

The Hertha Ber­lin cen­ter-half made a hor­ri­ble hash of clear­ing a long ball for­ward and Camp­bell pounced to race clean through on goal, calmly tuck­ing away past Guzan.

Three min­utes later and Camp­bell grabbed his sec­ond with al­most a car­bon copy of his first. More static de­fend­ing al­lowed Camp­bell to go clear and he duly fin­ished to com­plete US mis­ery. –

Photo: AFP

Costa Rica’s mid­fielder Joel Camp­bell (right) scores against the United States dur­ing their 2018 FIFA World Cup qual­i­fier foot­ball match in San Jose, on Novem­ber 15.

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