There was nothing quite like the fury of a scorned soccer nation.
Costa Rica set the table for its revenge with some pregame challenges, designed to unsettle the visiting U.S. national soccer team. Once the World Cup qualifying game started, the Ticos got a big assist from the Americans, winning, 3-1, on Friday night at Estadio Nacional in San Jose.
For months, the Costa Rican fans simmered with anger over a 1-0 loss to the U.S. in March in Colorado in blizzard-like conditions, feeling that the Americans had orchestrated the result.
This week, hospitality was not on display in San Jose. The U.S. team bus was pelted with eggs. There were long lines at customs and immigrations and issues with the suggested training sites. Eventually, the team practiced at a dairy and a fan dressed up as a cow walked behind U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann during a TV interview and sounded an air horn.
There was no such comedy on the soccer pitch for the Americans. They simply lost their way in San Jose in every way, shape and form and fell to 0-8-2 in Costa Rica
Just like that, the 12-game winning streak for the U.S. team ended with a thud. But there were other significant, unfortunate ramifications. The U.S. trio of Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler and Jozy Altidore will not be available for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Mexico at Columbus, Ohio. All were yellow carded, with Altidore's in stoppage time.
On top of that, skilled midfielder Michael Bradley is considered questionable for the game against Mexico. He limped off the field after warmups and was said to have suffered a sprained left ankle. The Bradley development set the tone for a wildly unsettled night. Costa Rica took a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, often exploiting the left side at will. It scored a mere three minutes into the game off a set piece, a corner kick glancing in off the head of U.S. defender DeMarcus Beasley.
The goal went to Johnny Acosta and Costa Rica doubled its lead with a soaring header from Celso Borges. Clint Dempsey, playing in his 100th game for the U.S. national team, cut the lead to 2-1, converting a penalty kick just before halftime. Costa Rica's third goal came on a counterattack, finished off by the speedy Joel Campbell, in the 75th minute.
If anything, there was an even more startling result in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. It came at Mexico City with Honduras beating Mexico, 2-1, only the second time Mexico has lost at home at Azteca in World Cup qualifying. The U.S., now one point behind first-place Costa Rica in the qualifying group, can clinch a World Cup spot with a win over Mexico on Tuesday.
Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun