The US wins the group; Costa Rica dives to a playoff; Maradona has the last laugh

… Quite thrilling for a tie, huh?

Yes, the United States got a goal from Jonathan Bornstein just about at the end of time to steal a point from Costa Rica last night at RFK Stadium in Washington. The point gave the US top honors in the CONCACAF 6-team qualification group, since Mexico failed to win at Trinidad & Tobago last night.

Perhaps more importantly, the late goal was a hammer blow for Costa Rica, for whom three points would have booked passage to next year’s World Cup in South Africa. Now, they must battle Uruguay home and away in the CONCACAF/CONMEBOL/Insert your acronym here playoff for one of the tournament’s last open spots. More on Uruguay in a moment.

While the US were lax defensively in the first half and that helped Costa Rica grab a 2-0 lead, I couldn’t complain too much about the attack – save for the final (and yes, most important) part, the finishing. Conor Casey and others had chances to put the US ahead early and failed, and then the second half was spent chasing the game, trying to rally from two down to avoid the country’s first home qualifier loss since 2001.

Bornstein’s header did that, some five minutes into stoppage time that Costa Rica mostly created for itself, with several players staying down for “injuries,” and CR coach Rene Simoes probably adding a bit to the time given with his running conversation to the fourth official (it was probably a pretty one-sided conversation, at that) which led to Simoes being sent off. He didn’t exactly leave quickly, despite DC’s finest giving him an entourage to the dugout.

Is a tie the best possible result? Certainly not. You want to win every home game and I’m sure there’s plenty for coach Bob Bradley to look at off this latest performance in beginning to determine what his team will look like when the World Cup begins in 8 months in South Africa.

But you also could have given the US every reason to fold up shop a bit last night down 2-1, playing with 10 since they had no substitutes and defender Oguchi Onyewu was out with an injury (which AC Milan isn’t happy about), and given the ominous cloud that overshadowed the game after the car accident that seriously injured Charlie Davies. Had the game ended 2-1, I don’t think too many people would have gone terribly nuts in their reaction. Though Mexican fans might have had some fun with winning the group.

I was most impressed by the efforts of the US in the final 10 minutes, though, and eventually it seemed as if the goal was certainly coming, it was just a matter of when. Credit to Bornstein – an oft criticized player who has appeared regularly during Bradley’s reign – for rising to the occasion.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, must find some way to rebuild their emotions and put this behind them to stand any chance vs. Uruguay, you’d think. Then again, it wasn’t as if Uruguay proved themselves to be powerhouses last night, either. Needing a win at home over a struggling Argentina team to advance, Uruguay failed to even nab a point. They were dealt a further blow when José Mart

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13 thoughts on “The US wins the group; Costa Rica dives to a playoff; Maradona has the last laugh

  1. I feel pretty ignorant in asking, so forgive me.
    I keep reading the France-Ireland would be interesting. Why? Is there some sort of bad blood there that I’m unaware of?

  2. FIFA changed the rules in the last few years (since the aftermath of the Owen injury) so that National FAs are required to compensate clubs for major injuries to players while on National Team duty. i.e., this is hardly breaking new ground.

  3. Did you see the looks of utter despair and hopelessness on the Ticos players and coaches faces after the game? If they started the playoffs this Saturday, the Ticos would lose the two-legged playoff to Uruguay, because Uruguay has already beaten them mentally. The Ticos need to get that swag back.

  4. This continues to be factually inaccurate but apparently isn’t preventing people from spewing it. The relevant authority is pg. 33 of the following FIFA document:

    http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affe…er_en_1210.pdf

    This site should really have a disciplinary policy towards ignorant posts such as the one provided by andypalmer. If you aren’t familiar with the specific facts and circumstances of the topic please keep any conjecture to yourself.

  5. Not really. I just think they would be two really interesting matches. I think France is the better side, but Ireland might be a more tricky opponent than they’d hope for in the playoffs.

  6. Eire and France are historically friend countries; the French army helped a lot the Irish rebels against the British army, and if I recall correctly, the Irish flag is in honor to the French one

  7. Thanks. I would have thought that at first, but I’ve seen quite a few people talk about how sweet France vs. Ireland would be.

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