The Ticos of Costa Rica had planned revenge on the US for a long time and they gleefully saw their blueprint come to fruition on Friday night by securing all 3 points in a rather dominating 3-1 home triumph over the Yanks. Jurgen Klinsmann’s men seemed to be behind the 8-ball well before the match kicked off, as the Costa Rican Federation purposely held the US up during Customs check at the airport, denied them adequate practice facilities, and even went as far as to refuse to give them replica game balls to practice with it. Finally, when it came time to actually kick the inflated pig’s bladder around, the US were struck by bad luck again with key midfielder Michael Bradley injuring his ankle enough during warm-ups to warrant his name being removed from the starting 11 (he did not play in the match).
Perhaps consequently, the Americans fell behind after just 2 minutes when Jhonny Acosta’s tracer bullet of a header flew past Tim Howard before grazing off the head of Demarcus Beasely and in to give the Costa Ricans a dream start at the Estadio Nacional Nuevo. The Ticos quickly went back to work and made it 2-0 in the blink of an eye this time through Celso Borges. The shell-shocked Americans tried desperately to regroup and at least nab a goal back prior to the half, but it took a bit of a blown call and a lot of fortune to give them the goal they craved. The goal itself came courtesy of captain Clint Dempsey with the new Seattle man having his poor penalty bizarrely ricochet off of the Tico keeper and into the left hand corner, after goalie Keylor Navas guessed correctly but couldn’t properly parry away the shot straight down the middle. Klinsmann’s troops then appeared to have a bit more pep in their step come the second half, but the game was put firmly out of their reach when Joel Campbell slotted home on a breakaway between Tim Howard’s (who had a poor game in goal) legs to make it 3-1. That score would hold for the rest of the match with Costa Rica surging to the top of the Hexagonal, 1 point ahead of the US after the rematch of last year’s infamous “Snow Game” in Denver.