The United States men’s national team overcame a horrible start to their World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio, to score an almost-necessary 2-1 win on Wednesday.
[ MORE: USMNT player ratings vs Costa Rica ]
The Yanks were coming off a brutal performance in a 1-0 away loss to Panama and went down in the first minute on a massive defensive lapse to start Wednesday’s match.
But Sergino Dest, partly at fault for that concession, scored a sensational equalizer and connected with Timothy Weah to help produce the match-deciding own goal.
[ MORE: USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule ]
Now the Yanks’ 11 points are three clear of the fourth-place playoff spot and five ahead of fifth. As of post time, Mexico was up 1-0 in its Wednesday qualifier after opening the day with 11 points.
USMNT vs Costa Rica final score, stats
Final score: USMNT 2, Costa Rica 1
Scorers: Fuller (1′), Dest (25′), Moreira o.g. (66′)
Shots: USMNT, 12-4
Shots on target: USMNT, 5-3
Possession: USMNT 64%
TIM WEAH GETS THE BOUNCE TO PUT THE USMNT UP 2-1 🙌 pic.twitter.com/9rzF6zztok
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 14, 2021
Three things we learned from USMNT vs Costa Rica
1. Objective achieved? Berhalter more or less admitted that his focus was on this match when he made seven ill-fated changes between the Jamaica win and Panama loss. There were still questions about his lineup at that, removing Matt Turner in goal for Zack Steffen and giving Chris Richards his first World Cup qualifying start. Fortunately, Miles Robinson rescued his and Richards’ 56th-minute gaffe. All-told, the Yanks were the better side as expected once they sorted out the early deficit.
2. First-half nightmares take half-turn: The Yanks entered the match without a first-half goal in eight-straight matches, and went down 1-0 within a minute to beg the question of what the heck is being said in the team room before the game? The concession made it look like the Americans were set to find a new way to struggle over the first 45 minutes, but Sergino Dest’s moment of brilliance saved them significant blushes in Ohio
3. Fortune smiles on Berhalter, team: Timothy Weah made his second-straight start only because Paul Arriola couldn’t make his third in-a-row thanks to an injury in warm-up. Weah showed his explosive speed on the right wing and eventually put the Yanks ahead when he took a Dest feed and smashed a shot off the post, keeper, and into the goal.
Man of the Match: Tyler Adams
There’s no one in the player pool quite like him, which is reason enough to cover him in bubble wrap.
SERGINO DEST WHAT A GOAL 🔥
The USMNT equalize! pic.twitter.com/eVNh8R8Lym
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 13, 2021
USMNT vs Costa Rica recap
Keysher Fuller had Costa Rica up 1-0 within a minute of kickoff when Sergino Dest allowed a cross from the left and McKennie left his mark unattended. Zack Steffen had to play a charging forward’s possible deflection and the Yanks cut their work out for them
The U.S. quickly had two chances, with Sergino Dest muffing Timothy Weah feed from the right and Weston McKennie saved by Keylor Navas from the left.
The Yanks restored level terms when Musah slipped Dest atop the six and the Barcelona man was shown inside for a venomous strike that Keylor Navas couldn’t stop 10 times out of 10.
[ MORE: World Cup qualifying hub ]
Costa Rica really should’ve been up 2-1 or at least had the chance to retake the lead from the spot, but the competition does not have VAR to review Chris Richards’ desperation tackle in the box after a Musah giveaway.
Instead it was the U.S. who went ahead when Dest found a bursting Weah, whose hammered shot turned off the post and keeper Leonel Moreira before dribbling over the goal line.