The United States put its hopes of an eighth straight World Cup berth in peril, giving up a pair of goals to Marco Urena in a 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Friday night that brought the Americans’ resurgence under coach Bruce Arena to a crashing thud.
Urena spun around defender Tim Ream, then caught Tim Howard leaning and beat the goalkeeper to the far post in the 31st minute. Urena, the lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation, doubled the lead in the 82nd with a shot from 18 yards after David Guzman intercepted a poor pass by Geoff Cameron.
The Americans have lost two home games in a World Cup cycle for the first time since 1957 and likely will need points on the road to reach next year’s tournament in Russia.
It was just their third home loss in qualifying since 1985 — and came 16 years to the day the U.S. and Arena lost 3-2 to Honduras at Washington’s RFK Stadium.
With three games left in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the United States was clinging to third place — the last automatic berth — and results later Friday could drop the U.S. down the standings.
The Americans play at Honduras on Tuesday night, then close the hexagonal next month at home against Panama and at Trinidad and Tobago. American forward Jozy Altidore is suspended for Tuesday’s game after an 80th minute yellow card for pushing Johan Venegas.
Mexico and Costa Rica lead the standings with 14 points each, followed by the U.S. with eighth, Panama with seven, Honduras with five and Trinidad with three.
While the top three teams qualify, the fourth-place finisher advanced to a playoff against Asia’s No. 5 team.
- USA 0-2 Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago 1-2 Honduras
- Mexico 1-0 Panama
German cruise in Group C
Germany kept cruising toward the World Cup in Russia, England edged closer, and Poland’s unbeaten run was decisively ended on Friday.
Germany’s 2-1 win at the Czech Republic was the world champion’s seventh straight win in qualifying and maintained its five-point lead over Northern Ireland atop Group C with three rounds left.
Mats Hummels leaped high to head an 88th-minute winning goal to cap an interesting week for the Bayern Munich defender. He was rebuked by team management for posting a video of himself on social media jumping off a balcony into a swimming pool.
England laboured to a 4-0 win in Malta with three late goals to stay two points ahead in Group F from Slovakia, which comes to play at…