World Cup Qualifying: Three things to know, player ratings as Costa Rica crushes USMNT
It was a nightmare in Central America for the Americans
Costa Rica is a place where many Americans go to create pleasant and relaxing memories by visiting the breath-taking terrain and embracing the "pura vida" mentality. For some, it's paradise.
On Tuesday, for the USMNT and its fans, it felt like the complete opposite.
The USMNT visited Los Ticos for a World Cup Qualifying showdown and were emphatically flattened 4-0. Here are three things to know and player ratings.
1. It doesn't get much worse
Both the match and the hex have been nightmares so far. Zero points to show from two games and to get just run over on the road at Costa Rica, this was a punch in the gut for the U.S. and hopefully a wake-up call. It's too early to say that there is a real chance for the team to miss out on the 2018 World Cup because there are eight more matches, four of which are at home where the U.S. will be favored. But the squad lacked heart and determination, and it almost looked like they quit. If this uncharacteristic play continues, missing out on Russia in two year's time will look more likely by the end of each match, but just not yet.
Look away, USMNT fans. It ain't pretty. pic.twitter.com/qPYlVEE8w6— Roger Gonzalez (@RGonzalezCBS) November 16, 2016
2. Klinsmann's seat has to be warming up
Jurgen Klinsmann's seat shouldn't have been warm after the loss to Mexico on Friday, especially considering he guided the team to an impressive fourth-place finish at the 2016 Copa America. But now, after such an off night where the team did next to nothing right, you have to believe he is sensing a bit of pressure. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said just the other day that he expects Klinsmann to finish qualifying as coach, but if the team doesn't start winning, there is really no other choice than to let him go. If the team comes back and gets, say, four points from the next two matches, then Klinsmann will most certainly continue. But nothing from the first two games indicate that this team will be able to perform and secure results, especially with Tim Howard's status for the next two games up in the air.
3. A painful wait
What's beautiful about sports is, you usually don't have to wait too long to turn the chapter and try and get back on the winning path. In club soccer, you have a game pretty much every weekend during the season and even some games midweek. International soccer, well that's another story. How does waiting over four months sound? The U.S. will continue its qualifying campaign on March 24 at home against Honduras and then on the road at Panama on March 28. Lots of time to get it right, but that's going to be a painful wait while sitting in the cellar of the hex table.
*(1 is Nicklas Bendtner level, 10 is Lionel Messi level)
Brad Guzan (5.5) -- Rough to concede four, but it could have easily been six or seven. He made some fine saves in the first half but his defense let him down.
John Brooks (3) -- Poor marking throughout. Wasn't he supposed to be the star at the back?
Omar Gonzalez (3.5) -- Not good from the Pachuca man. He was beat time and time again and looked out of form. A nightmare.
Matt Besler (4) -- "A" for effort, but the rest was poor. Outclassed all night long.
Timmy Chandler (5) -- Tough. But that's it. Below average and just not sharp.
Michael Bradley (4) -- Well, wouldn't you know it. Another performance that makes you question whether he is even any good. Didn't get up the field enough and isn't being used right. Just a waste by sitting back.
Jermaine Jones (4) -- Time to move on. Stop holding on to his 2014 World Cup goal against Portugal. Offers nothing, just like on Tuesday.
Christian Pulisic (5) -- The young star didn't see enough of the ball but showed flashes. Nearly set up Bobby Wood in the first half.
Fabian Johnson (5) -- One of the more talented players on the team, but wasn't involved enough to make an impact.
Jozy Altidore (5) -- A rough one for Jozy. Wasn't fed the ball much at all and isn't to blame.
Bobby Wood (5) -- The determination and heart was there, but what can you expect from forwards when the ball isn't coming their way?
Sacha Kljestan (6) -- Deserved to start. Can create for this team, and that is what is needed. Showed a little but didn't get the ball as much as he would have wanted.
Graham Zusi (N/A) -- Late sub that didn't have enough time to make an impact.
Lyden Gooch (6) -- Added a bit down the left late on.
Jurgen Klinsmann (3) -- Has he lost this team? They showed little quality and were thoroughly dominated. Why not give Kljestan more time?
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