San Jose, Costa Rica (4E Sports) – Team USA fell behind early and was unable to recover, eventually suffering a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica at the National Stadium of Costa Rica.
The Ticos swarmed over their guests from the get go, with Bryan Ruiz squirming through the American lines and extracted a strong save from Tim Howard. However, the corner by Joel Campbell sailed to Johnny Acosta, who smashed a header for a 1-0 lead.
Then Yeltsin Tejada whipped in a sharp cross to Celso Borges, who climbed over DaMarcus Beasley and bounced his header out of Howard’s reach and into the net to double the lead.
After a free Bolanos wasted a chance to make it 3-0 for Costa Rica, Howard saved a goal against the USA by stopping Campbell one on one.
After Keylor Navas incurred both a penalty and a yellow card for bringing down Dempsey, the latter rammed one home to cut the lead at 2-1.
In the 76th minute, Campbell eluded Matt Besler on a run and sticking his finish under Howard to give Costa Rica their two-goal lead back.
With the win, Costa Rica snapped USA’s 12-game winning streak and avenged a 1-0 loss in March when there was so much snow that the Ticos felt wronged for having been played at all.
With three matches remaining, the Americans (4-2-1) have 13 points and a five-point lead over fourth-place Mexico. The first three finishers automatically earn a berth in the 2014 Brazil World Cup.