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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

October 13, 2015
50-YEAR ITCH
USA's home winless streak vs. CONCACAF teams reaches 4 games after 1-0 loss to Costa Rica

By Michael Lewis
BigAppleSoccer.com Editor

Costa Rica defender Kendall Waston tackles the ball away from US -- and Revolution -- midfielder Lee Nguyen in the second half of Tuesday's 1-0 US loss at Red Bull Arena.
Costa Rica defender Kendall Waston tackles the ball away from US -- and Revolution -- midfielder Lee Nguyen in the second half of Tuesday's 1-0 US loss at Red Bull Arena.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, N.J. -- Into one's life some rain must fall.

So says U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Given the team's recent performances, it's more like a deluge.

For the fourth successive game, the United States Tuesday night failed to beat a CONCACAF team on American soil.

A rather lackluster side fell to Costa Rica in an international friendly, 1-0, before 9,214 enthusiastic and loud spectators at Red Bull Arena.

The USA has endured such a streak only one other time in its history, during an eight-year span from 1957 to 1968, during an era when there were only a few international matches in a year. That was 50 years ago.

The Americans also have lost three consecutive home games against all competition for the first time since 1997.

Klinsmann, the embattled USA coach who is enduring the team's worst home performance in five decades going back to 1950, blamed the Americans' performance on the hangover from Saturday night's 3-2 defeat to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup. That result lifted the Mexicans into the 2017 FIFA Confederation Cup in Russia and lowered the USA's spirits.

"Obviously you saw the Saturday night clash with Mexico was still heavy in the air," he said. "We weren't able to shake this off in two days.

Klinsmann said he was disappointed as he tried to rationalize the Americans' recent performances.

"You've got to go through that," he said. "It's part of life. ... It's raining."

He later added: "We're going to go through some rain right now. It's not sunshine. The clouds are going to part.

"It's not in my character to give up."

But the USA players certainly looked like they did, playing as though they did not want to be there. Former Red Bulls striker Jozy Altidore was ineffective up front and was pulled at halftime, as was center midfielder Jermaine Jones, who seemingly fouled players at will before getting a deserved yellow card.

The less said about the game from the American perspective, the better. The Central Americans dominated the match from start to finishing, outshooting the hosts, 14-5, although the actual total seemed greater. They also placed six shots on goal to the USA's three, but Costa Rica certainly had more quality attempts.

"We struggled to have any kind of rhythm," Klinsmann said.

The Americans led in one category: yellow cards -- six to two.

If there was one bright spot, it was the return to the lineup of Tim Howard, who took a 15-month sabbatical from the national side after his scintillating performance against Belgium in the USA's 2-1 extratime elimination loss in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

As good as Howard was Tuesday, he was unable to stop striker Joel Campbell from scoring from 14 yards off second-half substitute Dave Myrie's right-wing cross in the 70th minute.

Howard will be considered as a potential starter along with Brad Guzan, who has carried the weight in goal during the former's absence.

Klinsmann talked about the importance of having two strong goalkeepers.

"He obviously deserved to start tonight," Klinsmann said of Howard. "The 14-15 months [he was away] Brad Guzan did an excellent job. ... They'll probably rotate. We'll make a decision where one starts over the other. They're two outstanding characters. They're very, very even."

It's too bad Klinsmann can't talk about some of his field players the same way.


   
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