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USA ties Costa Rica, tops CONCACAF and helps Honduras reach World Cup

BocaBornstein (ISIphotos.com) 
                                                                     Photo by ISIphotos.com

Jonathan Bornstein's 95th minute header helped give the U.S. national team a dramatic 2-2 tie against Costa Rica and helped the Americans clinch first place in the CONCACAF World Cup on Wednesday night.

Costa Rica jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of beautiful Bryan Ruiz goals, but the Americans didn't fold. Instead, the U.S. team rode the inspired effort of Jozy Altidore and the boost of second-half subs Jose Francisco Torres and Robbie Rogers to fight all the way back.

Michael Bradley scored first, tapping home a rebound of a Landon Donovan shot. Costa Rica kept holding on as the U.S. team poured on the pressure, but the Americans finally broke through in the final seconds of stoppage time when Bornstein streaked into the penalty area to head home the equalizer.

Bornstein's equalizers made the United States the first-place team in CONCACAF's qualifying group, while also helping Honduras qualify for the 2010 World Cup for the first time since 1982. The result will force Costa Rica to face Uruguay in a World Cup play-in series.

What did you think of the U.S. team's stirring comeback? Does it have you feeling good about the team's World Cup possibilities? Happy with what you saw from Altidore, Torres and Rogers?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Fantastic for USA! And, happy for Honduras, especially after the fans’ class shown on Saturday by applauding US team as leaving the field.

    Torres demonstrated AGAIN that he should be a key player for US in 2010 – and the future.

    Altidore was fantastic – but seemed to be under a lot of emotional pressure for obvious reasons. Wearing Davies shirt was a class act, but likely created that much more pressure for him to score. He may have had he been more relaxed.

    It would have been absolutely incredible had Casey Conner scored from Altidore’s assist right at 9 minutes!! All the best to Davies!

    Now on to the reason we are all excited – WORLD CUP 2010!

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  2. I was at the game last night, and the bright spots were obviously Jozy and Torres. When Torres came on the field, everything changed. He was constantly calling for the ball, organizing the attack, making crisp and intelligent passes. He should be starting in center mid. No question.

    Most obvious flaw was the second forward, Casey. He added zero.

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  3. I’d like to think Torres is finally back in Bob Bradley’s good graces, but the fact that the matter is, the USA had already qualified before the game even began. If the USA had lost against Honduras and needed last night’s game to qualify, no way does Torres play.

    All that said, he played EXTREMELY well in my eyes, and maybe he and Bradley can finally bury the hatchet for whatever sin Torres committed to be consigned to the bench up until now.

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  4. Our defense has ben shaky at best, but they actually played quite well when they were down to three guys with Gooch’s injury.

    The took on wave after wave of 3,4,5 Costa Ricans on the counter, and thwarted them every time and really helped launch some solid attacks. They still have a lot of work to do, but it was encouraging.

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  5. Jozy played a stellar game. Starting to look how he should up there: fighting and creating. Good touches, for the most part.

    Casey was lazy. Doesn’t he realize he’s playing INTERNATIONAL soccer, and he’s gonna have to run for 90 minutes.

    Bradley looked like he was playing for Costa Rica. Bad passes, holding to long, giving the ball away. If you look closely, he was marking Ruiz on CR’s second goal, and just let Ruiz run by while Bradley was ball-watching. Poor midfielding.

    Torres did great, and he should get more field time (replacing Bradley!). That said, he had space to maneuver because CR was playing VERY defensive in the second half. But he did draw defense and distribute well.

    Holden should have been taking the place kicks instead of Donovan last night. Great play from Holden. Good to see him starting.

    Overall, the US Offense needs to run extra laps because they can’t put the ball on frame. We would have had 3+ more goals if the forwards had just dribbled in their 1-on-1 opportunities. Shameful. We’ve got to finish better.

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  6. Torres, Torres, Torres

    Play him, Play him, Play him

    He meshed better with Jr. than the other options and he has a crispness on the ball and his passes that are very absent when he isnt on the field.

    What got into Jozy? Completely set up defenders then with a quick direction change he is by them. Best I have ever seen him play at any level, if our other attackers didnt have “shinkage” from the rain we would have had 5-7 goals.

    Boca needs to clear the ball properly

    Holden looked a bit unsure of himself and Rodgers did a nice job off the bench.

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  7. 1. Nothing better than taking the subway to RFK when the USA comes through. We played with great heart last night.

    2. Torres can play. The kid is crisp and thoughtful on the ball. The way he shows and the intelligence with which he passes — it is *amazing* that he has not seen more time.

    3. Bob Bradley is a fine man. I wish him only the best. But the limited time he has given Torres is — in my view — one of the *big stories* in US Soccer.

    4. Seeing Sasha Kljestan preferred to Torres this summer was flat out amazing.

    5. Last night, Feilhaber was largely disappointing. And Michael Bradley? There were far, far to many instances where his first touch let him down or he miss-hit passes. Torres brings so much more in terms of keeping the ball. This is something we desperately need in the team.

    6. Jozy Altidore served Conner Casey a goal on a platter. The way he missed was stunning.

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  8. Funny I saw this headline in the honduras online newspaper, “Bornstein, Honduras te ama” (Bornsteion, Honduras Loves You).

    Hopefully Costa Rica can beat Uruguay and there would be 4 teams representing the Concacaf region.

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  9. Wacthed the whole match like most of us and for my money Bradley Jr. was the best player for the US all night. He hustled his tail off, provided an outlet for the defense, pushed forward when needed, did not have the stupid giveaways that he is prone to do when pressured, made a few sublime passes, was closing down the Ticos midfield, scored a goal, and most importantly did not and I repeat did not make any, absolutely zero dumb fouls that could have gotten him a card or sent off. Great game from a 22 year old who is gonna be the lynch pin in the USA midfield for the next 8-10 years. that’s a whole decade folks and I can not wait to see him grow and get even better. GO USA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ps. i might have a small mancrush on Bradley jr.

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  10. I never understood the love of Feilhaber … yes he has good skill, but never makes an impression on the game- which you have to do as a central midfielder.

    Would love to see Torres get more looks, but come World Cup time, we’re going to see a true defensive midfielder, which I dont think he is … so is he going to replace Bradley? Good sub to have at least.

    Altidore was immense; I hope he can get some more time at Hull.

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  11. McBride back? Now that’s an intriguing proposition….hell of a lot more exciting than the thought of Ching or Casey…..

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  12. Some of JFT’s presence was fresh legs and CR packing it back even more at that point. But he did look good and he did work hard.

    This team has grit and good on Honduras. Those folks needed some good news and good times.

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  13. 1. The USA really battled the last 2 games–great heart and refusal to quit.

    2. So much for the Bocanegra at left back experiment. Right now, DeMerit is out (and hopefully not long but it’s such a weird injury it’s bad to predict anything) and Onyewu will, at best, be rusty coming into the WC. In between you figure Bocanegra MUST play center back, probably Marshall and then probably someone else gets major minutes as well. And that’s an important point because effectively what we’re saying is that someone who might play 50% of our international matches between now and March (unless DeMerit is totally fine–which is certainly a realistic possibility) has no chance of making our WC side unless one of our other CBs (Gooch, Marshall, DeMerit) ends up hurt. Good time to integrate Marshall but unfortunate we’ll be missing an opportunity to solidify the defense and give minutes to someone (Onyewu) who looks to be acquiring rust on his club team bench.

    3. I’m not so sure that Dempsey slides to forward and pairs with Altidore. Whether you believe it or not, Bradley believes that this team plays best with a target forward of sorts. That’s either Casey or Ching. Like it or not, that is what he operates by. And given how our backline sometimes reacts to high pressure (just kicking long balls downfield), that sometimes seems true. Unless McBride is going to take a victory lap and end his career in the WC (it could happen–if either Casey or Ching has a longterm injury and Chicago doesn’t bring McBride back), then what we’re really talking about is Dempsey probably being the other forward/withdrawn forward with our target guy and then the backup being either Altidore or Cooper or EJ. I’d love for Altidore to be starting. But if he’s not starting for HC then it’s not realistic to pencil him in as a starting WC player.

    4. We’ve got a bunch of weird injuries at this point: Jones (not really weird, he just can’t get healthy), DeMerit with his eye, Davies the victim of a car accident. Then add in Onyewu. That’s likely 4 starters for this team that will either miss the WC or aren’t playing now. At least DeMerit’s injury (as scary as any eye injury is) has the potential to be over with quickly and just be a blip (potentially anyway). Those injuries become more important because we’ve got a bunch of guys who should be major contributors to the US (like DMB, Edu, Altidore, Adu) who either aren’t playing with their clubs or don’t get a lot of time and run the risk of being too rusty/out-of-form to be contributors in many instances. So while our player pool has gotten younger since the last WC and been expanded, right now it seems a bit small given the injury situation.

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  14. It was a great game to watch, from an entertainment standpoint. I thought Jozy was immense, best I have ever seen him play, and he actually PLAYED the full 90. Feilhaber was ok, torres was exceptional as his replacement. Bornstein had a good night, but is still not the answer. Also thought Bocanegra played good as well.

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  15. Great game. Inspiring last 30 minutes by a team that refused to give up. That was the key. Nobody stopped fighting.

    Concerned to lose both Davies and Gooch, and I hope Gooch can recover and be match-fit by June.

    Happy for Honduras, who now finally have the choke label off of them. Now we can start calling the Ticos “Choka Rica.”

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  16. Good catch, Pepe! Torres was scrambling for the balls in defense and distributing them well. Hope he gets more playing time. I’ve seen nothing of the “he does not match our style of play” excuse of not playing him.

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  17. Not a Bornstein hater, but take another look at CR’s second goal. Bornstein fails to close down the CR player as he is driving towards the top of the box leaving him wide open for the shot he buried. He could have taken a much different line that would have offered the CR player much less space and a put a lot more pressure on him making that shot a lot more difficult. He did score the tying goal, but Bornstein has room for improvement.

    Harkes was on a Bornstein lovefest last night. Does not mean that he had a great game. No matter how many Bono references he makes.

    Torres had a great game. Should have come on sooner.

    Did not think that Boca had a good game at all.

    Holden had a better second half than his first half.

    The finishing has to improve.

    Was there an issue with the field last night? The US first touch looked worse than normal (outside of LD and Torres) and every shot the US looked to have teed up was shown to be a bouncing ball on the replay… I guess every shot except Casey’s first miss.

    Gutsy tie. This team has incredible heart.

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  18. Ives, et al.,
    Can you clarify what this means for group selection in SA? I know that we won’t be 1st seed, but I feel like winning your entire group should get you something.

    A great game, minus that first CR goal.

    Once recovered, Dempsey can be paired with Altidore on top to replace Davies and Spector for Gooch. The player pool expansion by Bradley means that all players on the WC squad will have a year plus experience with the Natl Team. That’s good coaching/player selection.

    -Mike

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  19. Michael Bradley is getting back into the form. Very good for him (and US). He is out of the dog-house in his team, and played with lots of hunger yesterday. Hopefully he learned something from his coach in Germany. Keep it up, Mike!

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  20. Let’s not forget too that as the final minute of stoppage time was starting Costa Rica was taking the ball to the corner flag. Torres chased down and quickly and cleanly took the ball away and started the counter that led to the corner and the goal. Without that play, we probably never cross midfield again.

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  21. Torres >>>>>>> Feilhaber

    I don’t buy the argument that he only looked good because CR had ceded the midfield to the US as they dropped everyone in defense. CR had already ceded control of possession by about the 40th minute, giving Feilhaber the same opportunity, however, he continued to lose possession and commit turnover after turnover.

    Torres’s range of passing and vision is 2nd only to Donovan in our player pool.

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  22. Good times. Onyewu’s injury will heal and he’ll be back in time to find some form before World Cup. This team will be fine in the WC and should advance. Of course, everything depends on the group assignments but the boys have done what they could about that. We’ll see.

    Could have had a lethal drinking game made up of giveaways by Bornstein and Holden and Benny.

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  23. I was afraid that when Torres finally gets significant minutes he will get too nervous and disappoint. So, I was watching him more than I would otherwise watch a single player in such a match.

    I love what I’ve seen. He made no giveaways. His passes were with a good vision and, also, convenient to the partners – not into a fight. There was only one bad one: an overshoot from the corner when Onyewu couldn’t reach it. His Bornstein corner was perfect. Defensively: he took away some balls and generally hustled and helped. Very good 30 minutes.

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  24. We are not going to have a good World Cup unless something changes. As great as the emotions were, and as happy as we all are with the result, last night again exposed our fatal flaws: (1) a porous defense that either just got worse, or just got better depending on what you feel about Onyewu’s recent play, and (2) a glaring lack of ability to finish. At least the midfield was half-decent last night. I’m glad that we qualified, and glad we got that one at the death, but we’ve got some serious work to do or we’ll be bounced in 3 again.

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  25. Torres fought for every ball, and he brings in something different to our very tactical way of playing. He definitely should start playing more.

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  26. Casey on Saturday and now Bornstein !!

    It’s good that we can rely on some of our players to be heroes for a day.

    It’s bad that we need some of our players to become heroes.

    You can build neither tactics nor strategy on that.

    We had very good opportunities to score before the first goal and many times since. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough class and had to rely on heart. On this level heart helps, on higher level – it won’t be enough.

    All that said, I am happy for our guys: Congratulations to all !

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  27. Early in the game I was caught up with Bornstein’s lack of perceivable chin – he has just a shallow arch of flesh from the front of his jawbone to his Adam’s apple…

    And then he scored and I was happy, and I remembered that this is a trait of the British upper classes.

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  28. two from connor casey on saturday, one from Bornstein tonight – I guess it shows that it doesn’t matter where they come from, as long as they get put in the net. The last fifteen minutes of that game should answer any soccer haters (Rome) doubts about the beautiful game

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  29. Agree with the positive comments about torres but by the time he came in costa rica was sitting back more and giving us space in the midfield.

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  30. To all the Bornstein haters: I usually hate with the best of you, but c’mon. Give credit where credit is due. Last night was the best we’ve seen a left back for the USMNT play in YEARS, both offensively and defensively (the first goal was Dolo’s fault, the second was Gooch and Bradley’s). Bornstein was lights out on the left all night, and made a couple very strong tackles that quietly squandered what would have been good opportunities for CR. He was involved offensively all night, and while he may not be the most technically gifted player, he tries his @$$ off all game and was very smart on the ball last night. He clearly deserves some more looks, although I doubt he’ll be so successful in the World Cup. He was already exposed this summer against the likes of Brazil and Italy. I’d like to see him against a team like Mexico, which isn’t quite as talented as those big teams, but nothing to sneeze at either.

    Oh, that’s right. We’re playing Denmark next month! There you go. That should be a good test for Bornstein.

    Another good thing- he’s only 24, so he has plenty of time to mature and work on the technical part of his game.

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  31. Jozy played inspired tonight. Probably for his boy Charlie. But nevertheless I have never seen him hustle on defense like that before.

    Also, being at the game last night made me proud to be an american fan. Even when we were down 2 goals, the fans were behind the players the entire time. And to cap off the game with a tying goal in the 95th minute made the stadium an incredible place to be.

    We’re number 1!!!

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  32. Davies and Oneywu’s injuries are a sad turn of events. This team peaked in the Confederations Cup, beating Spain and playing that incredible first half against Brazil. It would have been nice to see what that configuration would do in South Africa.

    Lets hope that, unlike last time, the team gets some respect and is placed in a reasonable group.

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  33. We seem to be a team that cant play 90 minutes. We have 3 games in the world cup and we cant afford to show up part time.
    After seeing what Torres brings, I cant understand we he doesnt get more games, his ball movement is far superior to our other midfield players.

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  34. I’d just like to take a second and reflect on Bradley winning the qualifying group, clinching the World Cup a game early, shutting down Spain, giving Brazil a heck of a scare in the Confed Cup final, making the Gold Cup final with at most 3 players who might make the bench in South Africa, and doing ALL of this with only a few players who regularly start or even play in the world’s top leagues.

    With the players we have, what more could we have asked for from the past year? I don’t know any coach who could have accomplished more with this team, and I think Bradley will get us out of the group stage. I really do. What has he done that would lead anyone to think otherwise?

    I’d love for Jozy to score more, for Torres to play more, and for our back line to defend more. But geez….there are a bunch of teams with WAY more accomplished players who will be sitting at home next summer.

    Hats off to Bradley’s Boys.

    SA 2010.

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  35. Jozy played like a man among boys tonight, throwing around CR defenders like Drogba. I love the guts and determination this team played with tonight. That’s what you need to get past the group stage. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. “Send the word, send the word… over there…”

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  36. Costa RIcan teams coaches blew it for them the extra 5mts killed them. And to think it was a MEx ref. NIce win but team played like crap for long stretches. Casey was a hero sat but man he still sucks

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  37. Torres was fantastic. he provided what Feilhaber didn’t (but usually does), which is an offensive point guard putting his stamp on every single possession. he took space when needed, played a lot of nice 1-2 touch balls, and played fast. It also seemed like he and Bradley’s roles were defined more than benny and Bradley, w/ Torres laying deep to start every buildup, and Bradley much higher than the first half

    It is such a relief to have 2 guys like that, so if one isn’t doing what he normally does the other can step in.

    Overall I thought it was good, but it really looked like they were playing tentatively, especially after the yellow to altidore. and maybe rightfully so.

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  38. We are going to have a good World Cup. We have guys who won’t let us flame out like 06. Plus, this group has experienced a lot, even before these last two days. We play with so much heart. I think we will come in with a chip on our shoulder, and I’m looking forward to watching it.

    Over theeeeeere…over theeeere….

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  39. USA 2010! The Yanks Are Definitely Coming!!!
    What a game. And to think my wife wanted me turn it off at halftime to watch Law & Order SVU. No Way! Gooch will be back, nothing to worry about there. Davies will miss the WC. That’s a big worry. Who can replace his speed? There’s always a starter or two who go down with injuries before the WC – the real question is how is our depth? I thought Torress was great. The kid always wants the ball. Did you see him always putting his arm up asking for the ball? Love it. Get well soon, Charlie.

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  40. I’d have to echo all three of you….pleased with Jozy, Bornstein, and Torres, but very worried about the long term effects of the injuries our boys have…

    What an absolutely thrilling and interesting last five minutes!

    Any further details on what got the Costa Rican coaches so hacked off, and likewise with the refs?

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  41. This was very emotional game we fought like warriors I am so proud of them. Jozy was inspired and played like leader. Bornsteins goal was a gift from the heavens. Torres was exceptional tonight.

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  42. Please fischy. He missed one chance but created about five others that weren’t finished by Casey and Landon. I’ve never seen Altidore play so well even though he didn’t score. He looked like he was gonna tear up during the national anthem. That was an inspiring performance from Jozy, he left it all out on the field.

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  43. For myself — as one who was there — that was the best I’ve ever felt at a USA game — and the tying goal was the most thrilling I’ve seen except for Dempsey’s goal against Ghana. As for the way the players played — not so encouraging. All these injuries are especially discouraging — but I’m not sure why you seem pleased with Jozy, who missed a great chance early and spent far too much time out on the wing in the second half, or Rogers, who missed 2 golden chances at goal. If we’re going to praise near misses, then Donovan deserves heaps of praise.

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