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Worst of the worst
by Paul Kennedy, June 4th, 2009 7AM



[MAKING A LIST] The 3-1 loss to Costa Rica marked the fourth straight time the USA has fallen to Ticos on the road in the Hexagonal. It was arguably the worst performance by the Americans in San Jose with their participation in the World Cup not yet decided. Indeed, it was the worst performance ever by the Americans against any foe in the first half of the Hexagonal.

The other defeats ...

Oct. 8, 2005
Costa Rica 3 USA 0.
The Ticos clinched a berth in the World Cup finals with the win against the Americans, who had clinched their berth in the finals two games earlier. Five U.S. starters from the 2005 game, also at the Saprissa Stadium, started on Wednesday.

Sept. 5, 2001
Costa Rica 2 USA 0.
Four days after the 3-2 upset loss to Honduras in Washington and six days before the 9/11 attacks, the Americans fell at Saprissa, seemingly jeopardizing their World Cup hopes. The USA would recover to win their next game against Jamaica, on the day of the allied assault on Afghanistan.

March 23, 1997
Costa Rica 3, USA 2.
The game was about the best the Americans have played in a World Cup qualifier in Costa Rica since their 1-1 tie in 1985. A late goal by Ronald Gomez gave the Ticos the win after the Americans twice came back on goals by Eric Wynalda and Roy Lassiter. "You have just watched two teams that will be playing in France,'' predicted U.S. coach Steve Sampson. He was half-right. The USA qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France but the Ticos collapsed.


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