The United States' men's national soccer team saw their 12-match winning streak broken at the hands of Costa Rica on Friday night at Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Los Ticos scored two first-half goals and added a dagger late in the second half to take home a 3-1 victory and assume first place in the CONCACAF qualifying table for the 2014 World Cup.
Fox Soccer Trax had summed up the night with this tweet:
NBC Sports followed with this statistical post:
The Americans received disastrous news early on, when star midfielder Michael Bradley limped off the field following warmups. The U.S. Soccer Twitter account confirmed the bad news; Bradley had a sprained ankle and would not play against Costa Rica:
As it turned out, Bradley's absence was just the tip of the iceberg.
Geoff Cameron, who had a yellow card in Bradley's stead and will be forced to sit out Tuesday's match with Mexico, didn't exactly step up to the challenge.
Team USA came out flat and unmotivated against Costa Rica. Los Ticos took full advantage in the third minute, when Yeltsin Tejeda's corner kick found the head of Jhonny Acosta to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
As noted by Fox Soccer, it was the worst possible start the Americans could have imagined:
Things didn't get better from there.
Celso Borges headed a goal past Tim Howard to give the Costa Ricans a shock 2-0 lead. Fortunately for the Americans, Clint Dempsey managed to cut the deficit in half with a penalty goal late in the first half.
There was hope for a comeback, but that hope was squashed in the second half by Costa Rica's top player.
Joel Campbell put the final nail in the coffin for the home side in the 75th minute, prompting ESPN's Max Bretos to call for the American manager to call off the dogs in preparation for Team USA's next match on Tuesday:
In the end, Costa Rica just isn't a friendly—or successful—atmosphere for the United States. As the drought continues, neither side can relax. Just one point separates them in the CONCACAF standings, and with a spot in the World Cup on the line, relaxing can be fatal.
The Americans and Costa Ricans each have three CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches left on their schedules.
The United States will host Mexico on Tuesday. After a month-long layoff, Team USA will then host Jamaica before traveling to Panama.
Costa Rica will close out their fourth-round CONCACAF qualifying appearance with two road matches against Jamaica and Honduras before hosting Mexico on Oct. 15.
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