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Brek Shea

Costa Rica Runs Out 1-0 Winners at The Home Depot Center as the Men's National Team Suffers Defeat

  • USA Gives Up Second Half Goal to Substitute Rodney Wallace in 1-0 Loss 
  • U.S. Will Travel to Brussels to Face Belgium at King Baudouin Stadium on Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and

CARSON, Calif. (Sept. 2, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Costa Rica 1-0 on a 65th minute goal from substitute Rodney Wallace, who had entered the match just four minutes before scoring the game-winner.

It was a night that saw the Americans dominate possession while the Central Americans capitalized on their one legitimate scoring chance to hand U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsman his first loss at the helm of the U.S. team.

“I never like to lose a game, but it was very good performance,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “I was pleased with the way the players tried to implement all the work that we did on the training field throughout the week. The players are starting to learn what it means to play your way through and keep a high tempo and a high pace. We have to congratulate Costa Rica. We tried everything to get back into the game and score our goal and unfortunately we weren’t able to. I told the guys in the locker room that from performance point of view it was very, very positive."

The U.S. team will leave on Sunday evening for Brussels and the first match abroad under Klinsmann as the Americans face Belgium on Sept. 6 at King Baudouin Stadium. The match will be televised live on ESPN and at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The U.S. started in an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation with Jozy Altidore as the center forward, and Robbie Rogers and Brek Shea running the flanks.

U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra was the most familiar face in an otherwise young backline, while Michael Orozco Fiscal, Edgar Castillo and Timmy Chandler all earned the third caps of their career. Chandler was playing in his first match since April 1 against Paraguay and got the nod at right back where he got forward with great effectiveness in the early going.

The three-man center midfield featured Maurice Edu sitting deeper behind Jose Torres and Landon Donovan. The trio went the entire 90 minutes and orchestrated numerous high-paced, high-quality and dangerous passing sequences throughout the match, but credit goes to an organized Costa Rican defense that consistently got numbers behind the ball.

In the sixth minute a lightning counterattack for the U.S. culminated in a dynamic dribble from Shea that unbalanced the defense, and he slipped a perfectly weighted pass to Landon Donovan into the right side of the penalty area. The USA’s all-time leading scorer tried to push the ball inside the near post from 10 yards out, but uncharacteristically rolled it just inches wide right.

One minute later, Altidore brought a pass down with his chest at the top of box and powered into the area with a defender right on his hip, but cut his shot wide left of the goal.

In the 22nd minute a Costa Rica handball gave the USA a free kick from 26 yards out just a tad to the left of center. With Torres also standing over the ball, Donovan elected to go at it with his right foot but he bent his shot just over the crossbar at the left upper corner.

In the 27th minute another crisp passing sequence sprung Donovan down the right wing and he played a long square pass to Altidore making a run towards the top of the penalty area. The big U.S. forward’s excellent first touch beat two defenders and took him into the box, but Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas was quick off his line to smother.

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard saw very little action for most of the first half as Costa Rica produced nary a dangerous chance until stoppage time when Los Ticos created two. First Randall Azofeifa hit a low drive from 25 yards that was gobbled up easily by the U.S. ‘keeper, but Alvaro Sanchez gave him a bit more to do soon after. The Costa Rica midfielder had a good look at goal from deep in the left side of the penalty area, but Howard was well positioned to push his driven shot over the goal for a corner kick.

In the 54th minute the USA put the ball in the back of the net after Rogers and Altidore carved out an expertly worked give-and-go, but the goal was not allowed. On the build-up, Altidore found Rogers with the return ball and the goal scorer from Klinsmann’s first game slotted it home; however, the goal was correctly called back after Altidore was adjudged to be offside.

After barely getting any possession in its attacking third in the first half, Costa Rica did more with their attacks after the break. In the 59th minute Randall Brenes slapped a shot at goal after a scramble in the box but Howard caught it on the bounce.

Costa Rica’s goal came after forward Alvaro Saborio timed his run perfectly to get behind the U.S. back line. The pass took him into the right side of the penalty area, and with the U.S. defenders scrambling to recover he served a hard cross on the ground towards the penalty spot. The onrushing Michael Barrantes struck a hard first-time shot and Howard made a great reaction save, sticking out his arm to knock the ball down, but the rebound fell right to Wallace. The substitute came flying in to send a diving header on frame from inside the six yard box, which Howard got a piece of but could only redirect it into the roof of the net.

The U.S. pushed hard for the equalizer for the rest of the match, but struggled to turn some excellent possession into dangerous shots while the visitors were more than content to drop back and protect the lead. Shea was a willing runner on the left wing, using his pace to unsettle Costa Rica and continually send dangerous balls into the area.

In the 71st minute, Torres struck a drive from distance that Navas had to palm outside the right post. Perhaps the USA’s best chance to tie the game came in the 84th minute as substitute Juan Agudelo, who came on for Altidore in the 53 minute, pulled off a fantastic weaving dribbling into the right side of the penalty area, carving up several defenders in the process. Before he could get a good strike on goal, Navas came out to diffuse the scoring chance.

The final U.S. chance came in the first minute of stoppage time after Agudelo was taken down hard 25 yards out to left of penalty arc, but 66th minute substitute Sacha Kljestan banged his shot into the wall.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match: USA vs. Costa Rica
Date: Sept. 2, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: The Home Depot Center
Kickoff: 8 p.m. PT
Attendance: 15,798
Weather: Cool, clear – 63 degrees

Scoring Summary:             1              2              F
USA                                    0              0              0
Costa Rica                            0              1              1

CRC – Rodney Wallace (Michael Barrantes)                 65th minute

USA : 1-Tim Howard; 2-Timmy Chandler, 4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 5-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 3-Edgar Castillo; 6-Maurice Edu, 10-Landon Donovan, 8-Jose Torres; 7-Robbie Rogers (16-Sacha Kljestan, 66), 9-Jozy Altidore (18-Juan Agudelo , 63), 11-Brek Shea
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 13-Clarence Goodson, 14-Jonathan Spector, 15-Jeff Larentowicz, 17-Tim Ream
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

CRC : 1-Keylor Navas; 19-Carlos Johnson (3-Jose Salvatierra, 82), 4-Michael Umaña, 20-Jhonny Acosta, 15-Roy Miller; 17-Josue Martínez (22-Daniel Colindres, 46), 11-Michael Barrantes (5-Jose Mena, 87), 14-Randall Azofeifa (capt.), 25-Álvaro Sanchez (16-Kareem Mclean, 79);  9-Alvaro Saborio 10-Randall Brenes (12-Rodney Wallace, 61)
Subs not used: 18-Leonel Moreira, 23-Danny Carvajal; 6-Christopher Meneses, 2-Roy Smith, 24-Allen Guevara, 8-David Guzmán, 21-Winston Parks
Head coach: Ronald Gonzalez

Stats Summary: USA / CRC                                     
Shots: 11 / 6
Shots on Goal: 4 / 5
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 12 / 27
Offside: 5 / 6

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Josue Martínez (caution)                      29th minute
USA – Landon Donovan (caution)                   58
CRC – Roy Miller (caution)                             73
USA – Brek Shea (caution)                             78
USA – Sacha Kljestan (caution)                       79
CRC -- Jhonny Acosta (caution)                      90+1

Referee:                             Jose Molina (HON)
Assistant Referee 1:            Oscar Velasquez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2:            Juan Roda (HON)
Fourth Official:                   Baldomero Toledo (USA)

Budweiser Man of the Match:  Jose Torres