In the first of two CONCACAF Hexagonal World Cup qualifiers for each team this weekend, Darlington Nagbe and the U.S. Men’s National Team fell 2-0 to David Guzmán and Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
The two teams entered the match with an even 15-15-6 all-time record against each other in international play. The Portland midfielders each earned starts and went the distance for their respective teams, challenging each other hard throughout the game. Guzmán notched an assist for Los Ticos in the 82nd minute, while Nagbe cut through traffic and tried to get the U.S. on the board with a shot that curved wide of the goal.
Costa Rica went up 1-0 in the 29th minute on the first of Marco Ureña’s two goals in the match. After dribbling around U.S. defender Tim Ream, Ureña slotted a diving shot to the far post, beating keeper Tim Howard and putting Los Ticos on the board. The Yanks nearly equalized in the 67th minute but some spectacular goalkeeping by Keylor Navas prevented a low one-timer off the boot of Christian Pulsic.
Despite the consistent pressure by the USMNT throughout the rest of the match, Costa Rica shut down the Yanks, doubling them up in the 82nd. Guzmán pushed a through ball up to Ureña, who beat U.S. defenders and Howard, notching his brace on yet another sliding strike.
With the win, Los Ticos now sit tied atop the Hexagonal standings with Mexico, who they’ll face September 5 (7pm PT). The United States, sitting in third, will next see action on September 5 as well, when they visit Honduras (2:30pm PT | beIN SPORTS, NBC Universo).
Canada and Jamaica last met in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal, where the Reggae Boyz eliminated Les Rouges on their way to the final of the tournament. While both teams have already been eliminated from World Cup contention, both teams put together a strong roster for their Saturday night matchup in Toronto, from which Canada emerged victorious 2-0. The Timbers’ Alvas Powell started the game for Jamaica and saw 90 minutes of action in the match.