Ever since the U.S. national team suffered that infamous 4-0 defeat in Costa Rica on Nov. 15, 2016, it was Friday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Los Ticos, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, which loomed largest of all.
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For two reasons: 1) revenge, which is the obvious one; but, more importantly, 2) should the USMNT right the ship between then and now (they have, under Bruce Arena), it would set up a vitally important matchup between second- and third-place sides in the Hexagonal.
2nd – Costa Rica, 11 points (+5 GD) | 3rd – USA, 8 (+3 GD) | 4th – Panama, 7 (0 GD)
With just three more games to play after tonight (and Panama away to Mexico), a win would put the Yanks four points clear of fourth place (qualification playoffs), their trip to Russia next summer all but booked.
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