U.S. men are lacking, falling to Costa Rica in last WC qualifying warm-up.
By Robert Wagman
(Tuesday, October 13, 2015) -- In their final warm-up before World Cup qualifying starts in November, the United States men were completely flat and was outplayed by Costa Rica in a 1-0 setback before a small crowd of 9,214 tonight at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez was obviously glued to his television Saturday, watching the U.S. lose to Mexico 3-2 at the Rose Bowl In Pasadena, Calif. Similar to Mexico, he started a lineup featuring three speedy forwards and attacked from the opening whistle.
As often happens in friendly matches where six substitutes are allowed and coaches want to be able to look at players who might not be among their current starters, these games can be very different, half to half. This is why results from friendlies should often be discounted.
That was the case with the U.S. tonight. In the first half, the Americans had a defense strong enough to be able to resist the Costa Rican attack. Conversely, the U.S. had very little on the offensive end, depending on players who were trying to recover from the meeting with Mexico.
This situation reversed itself in the second half once U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann began to make changes. He picked up some better, more aggressive offense players, but his back-line suffered, especially in the middle.
Costa Rica kept attacking and finally broke through for the games only goal in the 70th minute. Meanwhile, the Ticos kept the Americans bogged down in midfield, stifling their attack.
Costa Rica was clearly better team on the night.
Next up for the U.S. is its first World Cup qualifying match against island nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines November 13 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Its probably fortunate the Americans open their early-round qualifying schedule against two minnows, St. Vincent and then at Trinidad and Tobago three days later.
U.S. Player Ratings
Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 6.5 No longer in the Klinsmann doghouse for taking the summer off to be with his kids, Howard made a strong 2015 debut with good saves on Marco Ureņa in the fifth minute, Joel Campbell in the 60th and Ureņa again in stoppage time. He could not be faulted on Campbells goal.
Defender Brad Evans - 6: He had a surprisingly good match. He was put under pressure in the first half and responded well, then began to tire somewhat near the end in a 90-minute effort.
Defender Michael Orozco - 5: He had a strong first half in tandem with Geoff Cameron. Things got very shaky in the second half with no one to bail him out and he almost gave up a goal when he misjudged a long pass, giving up two shots from Ureņa that required good saves by Howard.
Defender Geoff Cameron - 6: He followed up on his strong performance against Mexico with a good first-half effort here. He made several good defensive stops and his passes out of the back were on target. He has put himself in position to be a starter when Cup qualifying starts next month.
Defender Tim Ream - 5.5: He had to be good early when Costa Rica played down his side multiple times. He made several early second-half missteps, but when he left the match in the 63rd minute, it was still scoreless.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones - 5.5: After going a 120 minutes against Mexico on Saturday, he tried his best tonight. He was limited by a yellow card and having to try to play strong defense, plus getting more into the attack. That was probably too much to ask for.
Midfielder DeAndre Yedlin - 5.5: Another player trying to go after a long night in Pasadena, he had his moments, but faced a strong defensive effort by Costa Rica and was effectively marked out of the match. .
Midfielder Danny Williams - 3.5: Just an awful night. He was mainly at fault, losing Campbell on his goal. He gave away the ball often and, for whatever reason, he just could not find his way into the flow.
Midfielder Brek Shea - 5: If this was his beg chance to show he belongs in the side when World Cup qualifying starts, he fell woefully short. He made one or two decent plays, but overall did little in 72 minutes.
Forward Gyasi Zardes - 5.5: A natural midfielder, he found himself paired at forward with Jozy Altidore. He was active for his72 minutes and did much better in the second half when paired with Wood.
Forward Jozy Altidore - 4.5: In his half tonight, he was a bit better than he was against Mexico, but that is saying very little. He had few touches and was never a danger.
Midfielder Mix Diskerud (46th minute for Jones) - 5: Put in the role of getting the U.S. offense into gear from the middle, he helped a bit. But when he pushed forward, he left a hole that Costa Rica was able to exploit. He did better than some teammates, but was not good enough.
Forward Bobby Wood (46th minute for Altidore) - 5.5: He certainly had a higher work rate than Altidore, but he was immediately the target of very close and physical marking and was not very effective.
Defender Ventura Alvarado (46th minute for Cameron) - 5.5: He was clearly not as strong as the man he replaced. He made several noticeable errors and overall did little to show that deserves to be a starter.
Defender Jonathan Spector (63rd minute for Ream) - 4: In his big chance to return to the U.S. lineup, the veteran had a very poor shift. He was out of step with the rest of the back-line and could have and should have broken up the play that resulted in the Costa Rican goal.
Forward Andrew Wooten (72nd minute for Zardes) - 5.5: He is enjoying a strong early season in Germany. He could have helped himself greatly with a late goal tonight but, by the time he entered, Costa Ricaica was firmly in charge of the match and he quickly became a non-factor.
Midfielder Lee Nguyen (72nd minute for Shea) - 5.5: He came in too late to really do much. He showed a few flashes of skill, but didnt see the ball very often..
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Tim Howard.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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