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USA 0-2 Costa Rica, recap: World Cup hopes in serious doubt

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A poor performance, characterized by an inability to finish doomed the U.S.

Costa Rica v United States - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team dropped a disappointing match, 2-0, to Costa Rica. Despite dominating possession, the USMNT simply couldn’t break through a compact Costa Rica defense.

Costa Rica started the game in a defensive mindset with a 4-5-1. The U.S. began the first few minutes of the match on the attack, but the Costa Ricans quickly found their footing. Christian Pulisic was lively in the early portion of the match and a good dribbling sequence led to him being taken down on the right wing in the 13th minute.

Costa Rican midfielder David Guzman was booked, but the U.S. couldn't make anything out of the ensuing free kick. Both sides had a series of half-chances in the opening 20 minutes, but failed to test the opposing keeper.

In the 24th minute, the U.S. had a penalty appeal waived off as Jozy Altidore appeared to be taken down by a Costa Rican defender. Six minutes later, against the run of play, Costa Rica broke the deadlock.

A simple U.S. turnover at midfield allowed playmaker Bryan Ruiz to pick up the ball. Ruiz then played a ball between two U.S. defenders to striker Marco Urena. Urena took a couple of touches, before calmly slotting home. After a rather uneventful final 15 minutes of the first half the U.S. entered the locker room down a goal, despite having the better of the play.

The U.S. had a strong start to the second half and almost tied the game in the 48th. Graham Zusi whipped in a corner kick to Tim Ream whose header narrowly missed the target.

With the U.S. in need of a goal, Clint Dempsey came on for Jorge Villafana in the 65th minute.

In the 66th minute, the U.S. had another great chance. Clint Dempsey sent a free kick into the box that took several deflections, before falling to Christian Pulisic. Pulisic struck a powerful low shot that Keylor Navas was barely able to push away.

Looking to secure the three points and stifle the U.S. attack, Costa Rican coach Oscar Ramirez subbed on defenders Michael Umana and Jose Salvatierra in the 70th.

A clearly frustrated Jozy Altidore was booked in the 79th for a needless foul.

While attempting to hold off a Costa Rican defender Jozy Altidore had a shot form point blank saved by Navas.

A minute later on the counter, Costa Rica caught the U.S. upfield and Michael Urena added his second.

With the game all but over, Bruce Arena went for broke throwing on Jordan Morris for Graham Zusi in the 84th. Arena made his final change in the 87th with Christian Pulisic coming off for Paul Arriola.

Fittingly for such a poor performance the last significant action of the night was Clint Dempsey being booked in stoppage time.

With ample time wasting and solid defending Costa Rica was able to secure the 2-0 victory. Now the U.S. travels to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras on Tuesday.