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2022 World Cup Qualifying: USA 2-1 Costa Rica - The Americans comeback to win a critical three points

After going down early, the Americans scored two goals and got back on track for World Cup qualifying

Costa Rica v United States: 2022 World Cup Qualifying Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team looked to bounce back versus Costa Rica after what looked a lot like a midweek MLS game on the road with a heavily rotated lineup because maybe the coach doesn’t think wins on the road are worth three points.

But enough about Peter Vermes, Gregg Berhalter lined up a real first choice XI... with a twist.

A last minute injury for Paul Arriola meant Tim Weah started in his spot, making this all the more a lineup everyone always wants all the time. Still, this was my thought on one of the changes that was made.

As for Costa Rica, Los Ticos came out in a 4-2-3-1 with an XI featuring one of the best keepers in the world and the Alajuelense-Herediano-Saprisa-Grecia All Stars mostly.

In the end, the Americans overcame a shaky start and early goal by Costa Rica to come back thanks to goals from Sergino Dest and Timothy Weah. They didn’t do themselves any favors by giving up the early goal, but the USA kept the pressure on and an overall solid performance carried the day.


The game started and the US let in a goal right away, the tifo was still up, it was that early. This is how Costa Rica scored on a goalkeeper who hasn’t started in two months.

The USA was always going to have to score a goal in this game, so this just made that point all the more clear. Clearly, it set the tone for the rest of the half with Costa Rica set to sit in a low block. They essentially set up in two well organized banks of four and ceded the Stars and Stripes possession.

After conceding, the US set to finding whatever weaknesses existed in Los Ticos’ backline. There weren’t many as it took 14 minutes for the team to get its first shot.

Then Sergino Dest essentially took it upon himself to score a goal by briefly turning into Arjen Robben.

The half continued with the Americans looking for a second goal but a couple of chances from Ricardo Pepi and Weah were saved by Navas. Costa Rica had a very legitimate penalty shout on a poor tackle from Chris Richards, but Concacaf doesn’t believe in VAR so the teams went into the half at one goal apiece.

At the half Costa Rica was forced to make a change as Navas came off with an apparent injury being replaced by Leonel Moreira. Costa Rica continued to be well organized and did an effective job of pressing the Americans to force bad passes and break up attacks before they pushed into the final third.

In the 56th minute the best chance of the half for either side came when Miles Robinson both gave USA fans a mortal heart attack and revived them in the same 8 second stretch.

It’s an awful pass from Robinson, but Bryan Ruiz has a good 15 yard running head start on him and the center back still chased him down to make a perfect tackle. Everyone over 35 knew exactly how Ruiz felt after this.

After about 20 minutes it looked like Gregg Berhalter was about to make a change and bring on Matthew Hoppe, but TIM WEAH SCORED THANKS TO ABSOLUTELY WALLOPING A BALL AT MOREIRA.

The Americans smelled blood after the goal and kept pushing for another, but their chances would go wanting. With Costa Rica needing a goal, the game opened up as they pushed forward to find an equalizer.

In the 73rd minute, Berhalter brought in Hoppe for Weah and DeAndre Yedlin entered for Dest. Shortly after, Gianluca Busio would come on for Yunus Musah in the 78th minute. Costa Rica countered with the time tested strategy of bringing on players who are tall with Kendall Waston joining the party prior to a free kick prompting Berhalter to bring on Walker Zimmerman and Gyasi Zardes for Ricardo Pepi and Brenden Aaronson.

The Americans moved to a back three and looked to take their chances on the counter. It seemed like the risks Costa Rica took to create chances might backfire as the USA forced several turnovers in transition that led to counters. After four minutes of injury time, the Americans held onto their lead and came away with a 2-1 comeback victory.

Overall, outside of the Costa Rica goal, the USA controlled the match. With Costa Rica set to play a defensive game, the Americans did an effective job of breaking them down despite being down a goal from the start. Once Weah scored, Los Ticos had very little to offer in the attack. No doubt the game had a shaky start, but the Americans bounced back to take a crucial three points in fairly impressive form.