The US men's national team fell 3-1 to Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose on Friday night.
The loss snaps the US' 12-game winning streak and pushes them down to second place in the six-team, final qualifying group in CONCACAF. The US could have qualified for next summer's World Cup in Brazil with a win, but will now refocus for a match against Mexico on Tuesday in Columbus.
Though the US never won a qualifier in Costa Rica, Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann emphasized that a victory was attainable in the lead-up to the match. But it became clear in the opening minutes that it wasn't the US' night.
Costa Rica opened the scoring in the third minute as Johnny Acosta flicked a cross off a corner kick by Joel Campbell inside the near post for a lead the Ticos would never relinquish.
As we expected it was a very intense game. It was a hectic game, and a game that anything could have happened," explained Klinsmann.
"When you are 1-0 down after two minutes, that makes it even more difficult."
Costa Rica doubled their advantage in the tenth minute as Celso Borges headed in a cross from the left side of the field by Cristian Bolanos past a motionless Tim Howard.
"We were just disappointed in the way we came out," said Howard. "They got their fair share of luck and we didn't help ourselves."
Clint Dempsey cut Costa Rica's lead in half in the 43rd minute from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Kelyor Navas fouled Fabian Johnson in the box. Dempsey almost had his kick saved, his shot down the middle deflected off the body of Navas and into the upper right corner of the net.
Campbell scored in the 76th minute to put the game out of reach for the US, beating defender Matt Besler on a breakaway before slotting the ball through Howard's legs and into the net.
The US were without Michael Bradley, who suffered an ankle injury during warm-ups. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Geoff Cameron.
Cameron, Besler, and Jozy Altidore are all suspended for the US' next game due to yellow card accumulation.
"We're going to have to have guys step up, there's no question. I think we've talked about it over the last three years: we build toward this every game, so a guy can step in and not miss a beat and get the cohesion right."
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