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Costa Rica head coach Kenton fired (UPDATED)

Rodrigo Kenton (Getty Images)

What a difference three months makes.

Back in June, Costa Rica thrashed the U.S. men's national team, 3-1, in World Cup qualifying, leading to national celebrations and rock star status for Costa Rica head coach Rodrigo Kenton, who had his team in first place in CONCACAF qualifying.

Three shutout losses later and Costa Rica is in fourth place in qualifying and in danger of being forced into a winner-take-all playoff for a spot in the 2010 World Cup. As a result, Kenton has gone from the throne to the hot-seat and could be fired soon. According to reports out of Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Federation is expected to fire Kenton before the team's remaining two qualifiers, with Leo Beenhaker and Jose Pekerman being mentioned as potential replacements, along with one-time Chivas USA head coach Hans Westerhof.

The second of those two qualifiers, and last of the qualifying round, is at RFK Stadium against the United States on Oct. 14th.

(UPDATE- Kenton was fired on Monday evening. No replacement has been named yet.)

Things began to sour for Kenton in July's CONCACAF Gold Cup, when a close to full-strength Costa Rican team lost in the semis to an under-strength Mexico squad. Then came consecutive blowout qualifying losses, 4-0 at Honduras and 3-0 to Mexico at Estadio Saprissa. When El Salvador scored a 90th-minute game-winner in their last qualifying meeting on Sept. 9, the vultures began to circle around Kenton.

Costa Rica is facing a must-win game at home against Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10, and even a win there would not ensure an automatic berth into the World Cup for the Ticos. They will very likely need two wins to qualify, including a victory in the United States, where the U.S. is a perfect 4-0 in this qualifying cycle.

What's the SBI take? I can remember sitting in the San Jose airport the morning after Costa Rica's victory against the USA in June and every newspaper offered glowing praise for Kenton and Kenton even showed up near my gate. He signed autographs and posed for pictures, a night after fliers with his face on them with the words 'Yes We Can' were handed out in Estadio Saprissa. Kenton was king of Costa Rica for a day, but that good will faded in the wake of three World Cup qualifying losses by a combined score of 8-0, including a tough-to-swallow 3-0 dismantling at the hands of Mexico in Saprissa of all places.

What do you think of this development? Surprised to see Costa Rica turn on Kenton so quickly? Glad to see so much turmoil surrounding the team most likely to help the United States secure an automatic place in the World Cup? Think Costa Rica could beat a South American team like Uruguay or (gulp) Argentina for a place in the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

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