COLUMBUS, Ohio (Oct. 13, 2021) — The U.S. Men’s National Team closed the October World Cup qualifying window on a high note with a 2-1 win against Costa Rica. After a frenzied start saw Costa Rica take the lead after just one minute of play, defender Sergiño Dest scored a spectacular goal to equalize in the 25th minute and forward Tim Weah’s hard-hit shot in the 66th resulted in the game-winning own goal from Costa Rica. Playing in front of a raucous, sell-out crowd of 20,165 in its return to Columbus at the new Lower.com Field, the USMNT improved to 9-1-3 all-time in the Ohio capital.
Playing its third World Cup qualifying match in seven days, the USA began the evening in second place in the Octagonal standings — and will finish the night no lower than that pending the other results – while earning another important three points on the journey to Qatar 2022. The USA returns to action next during the November international window, facing Mexico in Cincinnati, Ohio on Nov. 12 before traveling to take on Jamaica in Kingston on Nov. 16.
With an average age of 22 years, 61 days, the USA took the field not only with its youngest lineup in World Cup qualifying but also in any official competition. The game’s opening kick sparked a frantic first minute. After goalkeeper Zack Steffen came out of the penalty box for a header clearance, Costa Rica pounced on the aftermath as Ronald Matarrita served in a cross for Keysher Fuller cutting into the box for the game’s opening goal and a dream start for Los Ticos.
Despite conceding early, the USMNT responded well and controlled the match moving forward, dominating possession while putting together far more dangerous attacks than the visitors. Weah and fellow forward Brenden Aaronson wreaked havoc on the wings with both using their speed and work ethic to get into open spaces. The midfield trio of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah did well to drive the team forward as the U.S. built its attacks with patience, but also with crisp passing at pace, and spent the majority of the half in Tico territory.
With a number of quality opportunities created from flank play, it seemed a matter of when, not if, the USA would pull even. That much needed goal came in the 25th minute when Weah switched the field by playing from left to right across the penalty box for Musah, who play back inside to Dest. He took a touch to his left to make space for a left-footed shot and sent a swerving thunderbolt into the upper left corner from 18 yards to make it 1-1.
Costa Rica threatened a bit towards the end of the half as Steffen was forced to make a sliding save in the 37th and leapt to make another stop in the 39th, but the U.S. went into the locker room on the heels of two more good opportunities, a header from forward Ricardo Pepi and a chance from McKennie that came during stoppage time.
Keylor Navas, Costa Rica’s legendary long-time ‘keeper, was subbed off at half after suffering an injury at some point during the first half. After the U.S. front line ran roughshod through the Costa Rica defense for much of the first half, Los Ticos did well to keep the USMNT from pushing too far into their defensive half to begin the second. The USA still had far better of the possession, working the ball around the Costa Rica half between occasional forward forays from the Central Americans, including a seemingly dangerous-looking one-on-one opportunity from veteran Bryan Ruiz that defender Miles Robinson shut down with a blistering recovery run in the 56th minute.
The difference-maker came with 24 minutes left in regulation when Dest pounced on a Costa Rica mistake deep in their own territory and found Weah cutting into the box on the right side. Weah ripped a shot at the near post and it deflected off the post, then bounced off substitute goalkeeper Lucas Moreira before spinning into the net to the delight of the sold-out crowd.
The USA continued to threaten down the stretch with substitute forward Matthew Hoppe providing a spark in his World Cup qualifying debut. The forward nearly teed up a goal for Pepi shortly after entering, keeping a ball alive at the end line and playing to the striker in front of goal. In the 87th minute, Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes was greeted with raucous applause by his hometown fans as he came on and the USA then snuffed out several dangerous free kick opportunities from Costa Rica in the waning minutes to end the international window with 11 points from six total matches.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
CRC – Keysher Fuller (Ronald Matarrita), 1st minute: In a wild first minute of play, goalkeeper Zack Steffen came out of the penalty to clear with his head. In the aftermath of the clearance, Costa Rica kept the play alive and worked it to Matarrita on the left side. He drove towards the end line before sending a cross to an unmarked Fuller 12 yards from goal in the right side of the penalty area. Fuller leapt to volley a bouncing shot to the opposite post past an outstretched Steffen for the game’s opening goal. USA 0, CRC 1
USA – Sergiño Dest (Yunus Musah), 25th minute: After some nice build-up in its defensive half, forward Brenden Aaronson found forward Tim Weah on the left side. He sent a soaring ball across the penalty area to Musah, who controlled it and played to Dest near the top right corner of the box. The right back took a few dribbles to his left before rocketing a shot into the top left corner of the net to knot things up at 1-1. USA 1, CRC 1
USA – Leonel Moreira (Own Goal), 66th minute: Sergiño Dest pounced on a bad touch from Costa Rica as it attempted to play out of the back and found Tim Weah cutting into the right side of the box. Weah ran with the ball for a few steps before ripping a hard-hit shot to the near post from seven yards out. The ball hit the post and then deflected off Moreira, the back-up goalkeeper who had come on at halftime, to give the U.S. the lead it would not relinquish. USA 2, CRC 1
- The USMNT improves to 19-16-6 all-time against Costa Rica and 7-11-3 in World Cup qualifying. It’s the fourth consecutive victory for the U.S. against Los Ticos.
- This was the USA’s first match at Lower.com Field, but the USMNT’s all-time record in Columbus improves to 9-1-3 and 8-1-2 in World Cup qualifying. The eight WCQ wins are the most of any city.
- With an average age of 22 years, 61 days, tonight’s Starting XI was the youngest fielded by the USMNT in a World Cup Qualifying match, beating out the lineup that began the 4-1 win at Honduras last month (23 years, 85 days).
- Ten of tonight’s starters were age 24 and younger: Antonee Robinson and Miles Robinson (24); Weston McKennie (23); Tyler Adams (22); Chris Richards and Tim Weah (21); Brenden Aaronson and Sergiño Dest (20); Ricardo Pepi and Yunus Musah (18). Two teenagers started for the USMNT for a fourth-straight match.
- Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Chris Richards, midfielder Gianluca Busio and forward Matthew Hoppe made their World Cup qualifying debuts, bringing the USMNT’s total to 25 through six games. The number ranks fourth-most all-time after 1998 (29), 2006 and 2010 (26 each).
- Sergiño Dest netted his second international goal and Yunus Musah picked up his second career assist. Musah also teed up Dest for his first USMNT goal in a 4-1 win against Jamaica on March 25, 2021, in Wiener-Neustadt, Austria.
- Dest and forward Tim Weah, who combined to force the game-winning own goal, were teammates on the USA’s 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup team.
- Midfielder Tyler Adams captained the USMNT for the fourth time tonight and second time this window after wearing the armband in the 2-0 win against Jamaica last Thursday. The team is 3-0-1 with Adams as captain.
- Midfielder Kellyn Acosta did not play tonight, ending his consecutive games streak at 19 matches, dating back to the 6-0 win against El Salvador on Dec. 9, 2020. Acosta’s run of games was the most by a USMNT player since Landon Donovan played 35-straight matches from 2001-2003.
- Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, defender Shaq Moore and midfielder Sebastian Lletget did not dress for tonight’s match.
-U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date: October 13, 2021
Competition: Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Venue: Lower.com Field; Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 20,165 (Sellout)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: 71 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
CRC 1 0 1
CRC — Keysher Fuller (Ronald Matarrita) 1st minute
USA — Sergiño Dest (Yunus Musah) 25
USA — Leonel Moreira (Own Goal) 66
USA: 13-Zack Steffen; 2-Sergiño Dest (22-DeAndre Yedlin, 73), 12-Miles Robinson, 15-Chris Richards, 5-Antonee Robinson; 4-Tyler Adams (Capt.), 6-Yunus Musah (17-Gianluca Busio, 78), 8-Weston McKennie; 20-Tim Weah (19-Matthew Hoppe, 73), 16-Ricardo Pepi (9-Gyasi Zardes, 87), 11-Brenden Aaronson (3-Walker Zimmerman, 86)
Substitutes not used: 1-Matt Turner, 10-Cristian Roldan, 14-Luca de la Torre, 18-Mark McKenzie, 21-George Bello, 23-Kellyn Acosta
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
CRC: 1-Keylor Navas (23-Leonel Moreira, 46); 22-Ronald Matarrita, 15-Francisco Calvo, 6-Oscar Duarte (19-Kendall Waston, 84), 2-Ricardo Blanco; 17-Yeltsin Tejeda, 5-Celso Borges, 11-Johan Venegas (9-Álvaro Saborío, 84), 10-Bryan Ruiz (Capt.), 4-Keysher Fuller (7-Christian Bolaños, 84); 21-Jonathan Moya (12-Randall Leal, 67)
Substitutes not used: 18-Aarón Cruz, 3-Juan Pablo Vargas, 8-Bryan Oviedo, 13-Orlando Galo, 14-Jimmy Marín, 16-Youstin Salas, 20-Fernán Faerrón
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 12 / 4
Shots on Goal: 5 / 3
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offside: 4 / 1
Referee: Daneon Parchment (Jamaica)
Assistant Referee 1: Damian Williams (Jamaica)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie-Dale Yee-Sing (Jamaica)
4th Official: Kevin Morrison (Costa Rica)
U.S. Soccer Insider Man of the Match: Sergiño Dest
RECAP COURTESY USA SOCCER