Outplayed and outcoached. That was the assessment of United States boss Bruce Arena following his side’s disappointing loss to Costa Rica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
USA’s hopes of securing a berth at the World Cup in Russia next year took a hit after Friday’s 2-0 defeat at home to second-placed Costa Rica in Harrison, New Jersey.
A brace from Marco Urena struck a blow to the Americans, who occupy the third and final automatic qualification spot with three matches remaining but are now level on points with Honduras heading into Tuesday’s crucial clash.
Panama are only a point further back following their loss to leaders Mexico – assured of a place at the World Cup – later on Friday and Arena conceded USA were below par at Red Bull Arena.
“We obviously didn’t play well,” Arena said. “On the night, we didn’t make many plays.
“We were probably outplayed in most of the positions on the field, made critical errors and they capitalised on them. We didn’t have a good time.
“Give Costa Rica credit, I thought they outplayed us and outcoached us tonight.”
Arena continued: “We’ll move on. This is how you deal with competition in sports. You don’t win every game and when you have a bad result, you have to put it past you and focus on the next one.”
USA captain Michael Bradley added: “I thought we had five or six good advantages that we couldn’t get right in terms of the timing with the last move.
“When they make the play to go up 1-0 you know it’s going to be a real battle to get back into the game. We pushed hard in the second half and in the end couldn’t make the play to get to 1-1 and they scored at the end to get the second.”