As their chances of qualifying for the CONCACAF World Cup dwindled, the United States Men’s National Team rallied for a 2-1 victory in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday with a home goal. Costa Rican goalkeeper Leonel Moreira in the 66th minute.
Keysher Fuller gave Costa Rica the lead in the first minute before Sergino Dest equalized in the 25th.
The United States (3-1-2, 11 points) entered the game in second place among eight teams on the goal differential, but a loss might have caused the team to lose one of the three first qualifying places with eight matches to go. The victory temporarily tied the Americans at the top of the group with Mexico, which played in El Salvador later Thursday.
The goal of the go-ahead was a confluence of two players who didn’t expect to be in the spotlight. Tim Weah’s shot hit the right post, then Moreira’s left arm, then the post again before crossing the goal line.
Weah was a last minute starter when Paul Arriola injured his groin during the warm-ups. Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in France, started at half-time with groin strain.
The goal was scored by Dest after the ball was deflected to him by a Costa Rican player.
Dest also scored a spectacular first-half equalizer, sending an 18-yard shot from the top right side of the penalty area into the top corner of the net.
Costa Rica (1-2-3, 6 points) knocked out the Columbus Ravens with the opening salvo.
USA coach Gregg Berhalter was criticized when he chose to give Manchester City England goalkeeper Zack Steffen his first qualifying start against Matt Turner. Berhalter coached Steffen when they were both with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.
The task doesn’t get any easier for the United States as they host Mexico on November 12 in Cincinnati to begin the next qualifying window. The United States will travel to Jamaica four days later.
In the last six games, the United States are scheduled to visit Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.
– Field level media