USA vs. Costa Rica: Klinsmann Era Suffers Its First Defeat
Meeting for the 29th time in Southern California on Friday night, Costa Rica won 1-0 against Jurgen Klinsmann's United States team, in front of 15,798 spectators at The Home Depot Center. Along with the win, Costa Rica now has a 12-11-6 record over the United States.
For the United States, Friday night's loss now gives them an 8-2-2 record at the Home Depot Center.
In his second match as the United States head coach, Klinsmann started Tim Howard (GK), Michael Orozco Fiscal (D), Carlos Bocanegra (Capt/D), Edgar Castillo (D), Landon Donovan (F), Maurice Edu (MF), Jose Torres (MF), Robbie Rodgers (MF), Jozy Altidore (F) and Brek Shea (MF).
Along with goalkeeper Tim Howard, the United States employed a 4-3-3 system. As a result, the team had an 8-4 shots, 4-1 corner kicks and a 5-4 on shots on goal against Costa Rica.
While the United States was able to maintain possession with their combination of short and long passes, it was Costa Rica and Portland Timber's own Rodney Wallace who headed home the game winner.
In the 65th minute of the match, Costa Rica was able to put together a sequence of plays which featured Costa Rica's Alvaro Saborio crossing over to Michael Barrantes who in return blasted a shot which was magnificently saved by Tim Howard.
Unfortunately for Howard, Rodney Wallace was well positioned, and his header completely obliterated the significance of Howard's marvelous play seconds earlier. Following Wallace's goal, the United States was unable to penetrate through the Ticos defense, or get past their goalkeeper, Kayler Navas.
For the entire game, Navas was able to withstand the United States attempts of producing a goal with his well timed defense, as well as the United States inability to take clear shots when Navas was out of position.
While a win would have been nice on Friday night, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has so far demonstrated that he will field a team that both novice and hardcore soccer fans can appreciate. On Friday night the team demonstrated their ability to advance the ball, while having strikers who have no reservations about taking the open shot, or attempt to break down their oppositions defense in order to score a goal.
Even with the U.S. playing without Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, Klinsmann is willing to give inexperienced players their playing opportunity, helping them gain some valuable experience. On Friday night, ten players on the roster were part of the squad that drew 1-1 with Mexico on August 10 in Klinsmann’s first match as head coach.
In addition, many fans would be pleased to know that Klinsmann has brought into his camp U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director, Claudio Reyna, in order to be build a stronger relationship between the full national team and the youth programs. It'll be interesting to see how this relationship benefits both sides.
Following Friday night's game, the United States will face Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Tuesday Sept 6th at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com ; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at firstname.lastname@example.org and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.
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