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

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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.


  1. 75% of our back line problems will be corrected once Jones becomes the defensive mid. A number of the goals we have given up were from areas where the defensive mid should be supporting

  2. Fire BB – Do you need to be reminded that only a few days ago it was a “typical Landycakes performance” on a “poor set piece” that got the US into the World Cup in the first place? And drop the “disappearing for long stretches of the match” cliche – it’s getting old. The only thing that’s disappearing for long stretches is your imagination and intellect.

  3. First of all, last week, if i were to say Casey Connor and Bornstein will be the US heroes, i’d think i’d be banned from this blog.

    Secondly, now that we know we can come from behind, can we please learn to not give up goals so easily and/or early. This stuff won’t work in the World Cup.

    Thirdly, all the Ching hater must be in cloud nine.

  4. As one fan who was not sold on Torres seeing playing time, I am sold now. We have three young midfielders who are all good Torres, Holden, and Feilhaber. Most likely none of the them will play together because the other three positions are a lock (Donovan, Jones, Bradley) assuming Clint goes forward. In my mind the three are competing for the fourth spot, with even Edu and Clark on the outside looking in.

    That said, this is why I am loving Torres this morning. In every miracle finish there is a guy who does something that goes unnoticed and contributes to the game. If you were like me you were sick to your stomach when four minutes into injury time Costa Rica got the ball in wide space and dribbled to our far corner, he was all alone, he was killing the clock and Torres is the one who ran all the way back to our corner, won the ball cleanly (a foul would have ended the game) sprinted the ball upfield and got it wide. This great play led to the corner that won the game. Without the little play, we lose.

    Posted by: JimP | October 15, 2009 at 09:40 AM


    How do you figure a player that has NEVER worn a USMNT jersey and is NEVER healthy is a lock to start? That’s simply ridiculous.

  5. WTF was up w/ the audio production? RFK was freaking LOUD and somehow ESPN made it sound like 12 people. I was hoping to relive some of my experience through the broadcast and I was let down big time.

    That being said, this was my first time seeing the national team and it was completely unforgettable.

  6. Fire BB,
    What are you talking about with late subs? If anything, subs were made too early as when Gooch was injured, they couldn’t replace him.

    I think the subs were perfect. BB took a chance using all three so early, but, in my opinion, it was the right chance to take.

    I just don’t see how people like you can call for BB’s head. What does he have to do to please you?


  7. Was there last night in the 10th row. Some quick observations:

    – The US fan base desperately needs somebody to create some freaking chants and songs. It’s embarassing. The place was dead until the first US goal…

    – Altidore brought the fire both offensively and defensively. He took on defenders, played with flair, used his body intelligently, and dispossessed the opposition multiple times.

    – Bradley played well, but there were times he was utterly lost out there making passes to nobody or wandering out of midfield onto the wing leaving huge gaps in the middle. I’ll attribute that mainly to Feilhaber’s presence, they were completely on different pages.

    – Anybody else catch the Costa Rican goalie punch Bradley???

    – I loved seeing Cooper sprint back on defense during the 4 on 2 in injury time, I thought we were cooked

    – Casey and Donovan should be flogged for missing those sitters.

    – Rogers can cross

    – I still haven’t found my voice yet

    – Best time-wasting tactic yet: in injury time when the Costa Rican player was laying on the field, the trainer brought out a vat of bottled waters and started taking them out and throwing them onto the field as they were about to resume play

  8. Take it easy with the Torres love. He came in as a fresh player when Costa Rica was dropping all their players. Feilhaber didn’t play terrific, but that was because Coach Bradley had him playing deep and letting his son (our defensive mid) run towards the goal every chance he got.

    I like Torres, but we’ve seen him play 90, and he is far less effective than he was for 30 mins last night. I wouldn’t mind having a Torres – Feilhaber midfield, but i think we’ve learned coach Bradley will never take out his kid.

  9. What does Torres need to do get more playing time? I think he’s a better option than Clark or Feilhaber–he’s poised on the ball and receives a ball in tight quarters and doesn’t panic. Heck, if Jones can take over at holding mid, then I think Torres is a better option than Michael Bradley as well.

    I’d like to see Torres get more opportunities to play with Donovan and Dempsey, because I suspect that a quicker passer like Torres could do wonders for Dempsey especially.

  10. Ironies….
    Pavon scores winner for Hondo=redemption

    Mexico ref for USA match = WTF

    Fans that were gracious to USA fans in Hondo=You were rewarded!

    Watching Los Ticos cry = great!

    Mexico ties and fails to win in Trinidad like 2005 Hex = Comical (lost in Trinidad last Hex)

    Finishing First = Possible seed!

  11. I was at the game last night in 133 and it was the most exciting game I’ve attended. I lost count of the CLEAR chances we had at scoring. I thought we played very lazy defensively in the first half. I was glad to see the pressure off the ball raise along with quicker passing in the second half.

    You can’t take anything away from this MNT. They have come from behind to earn points in 5 out of 10 matches this final round. A weaker team wouldn’t have fought so hard. Although a better team probably wouldn’t have allowed themselves to get behind, you have to be happy with the heart they showed.

    Pure jubilation when Bornstein scored, I hugged so many people last night.

    We have a lot of work to do still in preparation, especially with our MIA’s. Best wishes to all of them, (Edu, Gooch, DeMeritt, Jones, and most importantly Charlie Daves.)

  12. Criminal defending by the US on both goals. Not sure if Gooch was already hurt on that first CR goal. He was too concerned about showing the ref that he wasn’t commiting a foul (arms up), and he let up.

    I don’t get all the Bornstein love. Nice goal, but should have done more on the 2nd CR goal and didn’t have much of a good touch the entire game.

    This team has a lot of work to do before next summer.

  13. Is Rogers the next Hejduk? I thought his speed and willingness to take on players, albeit tired ones, was inspiring. He couldn’t finish worth a lick, but he made things happen.

  14. And…


    YOU WERE THE 12TH MAN!!!!1

    I don’t know what it sounded like in the stadium but at home, it really sounded like a home game for once. It really looked like the players were inspired. AWESOME!!!!

  15. Has anyone considered trying Bornstein in the middle? He has pretty good speed and some skills on the ball. Perhaps, with work, he can turn into a serviceable playere there. On defense, he works hard, but his positioning is always suspect.

  16. USA!! USA!! USA!! Well done USMNT!!!

    Jose was unbelievable last night; the best I’ve seen him play by far. Too bad he didn’t finish one.

    Torres was awesome as well. True Costa Rica was tired, but our possession was still better with him – more consistent, higher up on the field. His vision is great.

    Bradley is back. He played like he was playing before this little slump. He’s not the most technical player, but he always gives 100% and plays smart defensively and offensively – he’s always in the right place at the right time, that’s why he scores goals! His passing is underrated; glad Harkes kept pointing that out.

    I’m sold on a Bradley Torres midfield!!

    Holden played well also, adds a lot of spark in the attack; he’s not afraid to go at people.

    Benny disappointed, but hopefully it was just a bad game.

    Overall, I’m happy with the way the US team is going – looks like we are honing in on a solid core of midfield and forward options. The back line is looking shaky though, but Bornstien is looking better, and hopefully Demerit will be back soon…

    We’re in the world cup baby!!!!

  17. bornstein is still a horrible defender.

    great header.

    even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and again.

    We miss Davies.

  18. Sure this has been said throughout the comments, but It was great to see Torres out there, his passing was supurb and that tackle he had in the lead up to corner was just perfect. Bradley has to use him more

  19. Ives, can you please ask the “powers that be” why Torres is not starting and finishing games on the National level. He proved last night that he is the LEFT side option for the MNT, PERIOD.

  20. I hope the upcoming frindlies are used to give Torres a full 90 minute run in a competitive game and see what he can do. He earned that chance last night. JFT! JFT! JFT!

    Robbie Rodgers was a shot in the arm last night but the two times he got in the box were proof that this level is just a bit beyond him. My favorite British soccer (that’s right soccer) expression fits real well: ‘He’s a jigsaw puzzle, he goes to pieces in the box.’ I really hope that the injury situation isn’t such next summer that he’s ever one of the options of the bench.

    When’s the Draw? It’s our next biggest game.

  21. The whole team was pressing WAY too hard at the beginning.

    I think that’s what was causing all the misses. I was scared to death that Jozy was going to get a second yellow.

    I enjoyed the effort and heart that our players showed.

    Torres tracked all the way back on both flanks to take the ball from Costa Rican players.

    Cooper made a 70-80 yard run to get back and defend in stoppage time.

    Cherundolo OWNED the right side of the field.

    Jozy was all over the place.

    The boys wanted that game last night.

  22. I happened to be sitting in prime position @ RFK for all 4 goals last night – right above the goal. So in the time honored tradition of giving opinions on sports with little basis for them, I will…give my opinion on the 2 Costa Rica goals.

    1st goal – Gooch got burned. He let Ruiz turn the corner along on the goal line. I’m assuming that he thought that Dolo/Boca was right behind him to offer support or that there was no way that Ruiz was going to shoot from such a tight angle. He also put up his hands as Ruiz turned the corner as if he was afraid of committing a penalty…a sign of rustiness and the lack of confidence in his touch/tackling.

    2nd goal – Ruiz sat with the ball on the corner of the 18yd box. As he turned inside, Bornstein let him go with the assumption that Boca would step up and provide support. But Boca was late on pinching over and that allowed Ruiz to fire a beauty of a shot. Howard was PISSED at the lack of communication within his defense. (If Bornstein hadn’t scored I would have given him a very low grade for performance.)

    A couple of other thoughts –

    Feilhaber didn’t play as poorly as everyone is projecting. He had some great movement in the middle at the end of the 1st half and beginning of the 2nd.

    Dolo played like a stud. There was absolutely nothing going on for the Costa Ricans on his side of the ball. I am continually amazed at how good he is at judging a ball or player’s pace and making a great tackle.

    USA wiffed on 3 beautiful chances – Jozy’s header, Casey’s freebie in front of the goal, and Landon’s weak shot to the keeper.

    All in all, I was thoroughly impressed with the effort. RFK was rocking last night…it was a great place to be.

  23. Onyewu’s injury is concerning, but at least it’s now and not in 2 months.
    I didn’t like that it was M-Bradley getting forward while Benny and JFT were holding. I know we wanted to build, but we needed more attacking creativity and Bradley is too Raw. He cannot be the single holding MF if we’re pairing him with a creative MF (which is a must). JFT is better than Benny. Feilhaber just doesn’t seem to have the desire/speed to get forward; only wants to possess.

  24. Great, great game. Sat in the 400 section last night with a good mix of Nats and CR fans. It was one big party and the place felt electric and even though we went down early, there was always a feeling we were in the game (many missed opportunities, the worst of which was Casey’s miss in the 9th! How amazing would that have been??). I thought RFK was going to crumble after jonny boy’s goal. It was unreal.

    I was impressed with the CR fans, who were playfully jubilant the entire game, and were (albeit reluctantly) ready to acknowledge how great of a game it was after the final whistle. I even saw a few Honduras fans who were extremely happy and eager to share in the joy. This is what I love about going to the games. Very singular experience in my opinion.

    I think it is important to give credit to one player who, No matter what went down this round of qualifying and over the summer, ALWAYS played to his fullest and made everyone around him better: Landon Donovan. He looked dangerous all night and was the reason for the first goal. I was very impressed with how he played last night.

    Amazing game. Amazing night.

    My laminated #9 is hanging up in the room right now.

    Don’t even think about treading on us.

  25. how about this:

    In the Hex, U.S. scored the first goal four times, twice vs Mexico and T&T- 3 wins, 1 loss

    U.S. gave up first goals six times, twice each vs El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica- 3 wins, 2 ties, 1 loss

    regardless of region’s weakness or strength, to fight back like that and get points is very impressive!

  26. first of all, great game!!

    and also, lets give credit where credit is due. While I have never been a huge Bornstein fan, he deserves some credit. If you have watched his play over the last few games, he has seemed to have really improved. Perhaps, he has become more comfortable in his role. Either way, hats off to him last night!

    and another hats off to Robbie Rodgers! Came off the bench and was active immediately! And of course, JFT, but he has been covered by others.

  27. Whats funny is that Casey missed a shot by not settling the ball and instead taking a bad first touch shot, then later Altidore settled a ball he should have taken on the first touch (by settling it and setting up the shot he let the rushing goalkeeper cover five more yards and cut the angle down to where it was deflected off him).

    Hmph… I wonder which one the US fans will criticize more?

  28. I think the Costa Rican coaches were upset with a substitution. They had given the 4th official the sub card, but then another player got hurt. They tried to change the card so the player that was hurt would come out, but the refs wouldn’t let them.

  29. I am elated for the team, and their fighting spirit. We were not outplayed, Costa Rica just took their 2 chances and capitilized. As for the injuries, yes it is a concern but this will allow others to step up and fill the void. It can be done. Go yanks, SA here we come.

  30. Nice to see the Torres consipracy theorists out early this morning.

    He’s played more qualifiers than Feilhaber, one less than Clark. And he’s been with the US program less time than either one of those guys.

    Maybe we should pull Donovan out of the game so he can get some looks.

  31. was at the game last night. it was a great atmosphere, even after we gifted cr 2 goals.

    some thoughts about the game. bb was, again, too slow with his substitutions. benny and casey were clearly struggling all night long yet they were allowed to stay in the game and waste space (especially the latter).

    torres showed his class. his decisions on the ball and the speed in which he made them are far superior to any other cm on our roster. he needs to play more.

    landycakes produced a typical performance. his set pieces were poor and he disappeared for long stretches of the match.

    you could tell gooch hasn’t been playing much/at all. tough news on the knee. get better soon.

    still no idea why boca is captain. give the band to howard. he’s by far the most consistent player on the pitch.

    c-rundo played well for the most part. he didn’t explore the flank as much as usual but this was perhaps a tactical decision.

    jozy is a beast. all night long he was ripping people apart. he’ll sorely miss davies up top with him. those two knew how to play together. with 9 out for the foreseeable future, we really may be forced to consider a shift back to a 4-5-1 as no other forward in the pipeline is anything but crap. maybe we could slot dempsey up high as a withdrawn forward/advanced mid???

    holden struggled. he displayed lots of effort but lacked his usual sharpness. not much more to say about him.

    borny did better than usual. he still needs to improve (especially seeing as how castillo should be called into camp any time now).

    davies, get better soon. the tribute was pretty cool to see first hand. lots of 9s in the crowd. i even saw some cr fans with 9s.

  32. As one fan who was not sold on Torres seeing playing time, I am sold now. We have three young midfielders who are all good Torres, Holden, and Feilhaber. Most likely none of the them will play together because the other three positions are a lock (Donovan, Jones, Bradley) assuming Clint goes forward. In my mind the three are competing for the fourth spot, with even Edu and Clark on the outside looking in.

    That said, this is why I am loving Torres this morning. In every miracle finish there is a guy who does something that goes unnoticed and contributes to the game. If you were like me you were sick to your stomach when four minutes into injury time Costa Rica got the ball in wide space and dribbled to our far corner, he was all alone, he was killing the clock and Torres is the one who ran all the way back to our corner, won the ball cleanly (a foul would have ended the game) sprinted the ball upfield and got it wide. This great play led to the corner that won the game. Without the little play, we lose.

  33. Oh yeah- and I can’t think of a better finish to a game in recent memory:

    – down a man

    – last play of the game in 5th min of extra time

    – inspired by #9

    – sending a deserving Honduras to its first WC in a long time

    – making CR work a little harder to get there… (didn’t care for their tactics the last 20 minutes of the game)


  34. No matter what you think of any player on the team what amazed me more than anything is the way the team didn’t quit. After going down 2-0 I think we may have given them a free pass because of the emotional drain and the fact they had qualified. They may not have as much skill as some of the top teams, but they have great hearts and as we saw last summer it can get you wins in a short period of time.

    Time to back of both Bradleys and enjoy the build up to next June. Here is to Mexico ending up in the toughest group.

    Jozy was a stud last night in spite of missing two open looks.

  35. Agree with those who think its not wise to evaluate a player or the team based on one game. Although I was frustrated for much of the game (due to our inability to finish), I took away two positives:

    – Jozy played at another level for 90 mins, and showed the player he’s capable of being.

    – This team has amazing heart.

    Jury’s still out on Torres for me- let’s see what he can do as a starter. Hopefully Bradley gives him the chance.

    Based on the sum of all of our performances this year, I think we have an excellent chance of getting out of the group stage.

  36. Ives,

    I think it is time for an article on the importance of January now. We all had written the month as a fight for a roster spot that may not exist. Now we are going to have repatriated players, guys fighting for CD9’s spot, and an interesting battle for defense.

  37. Oh USA…USA…USA!

    Amazing to be there when we finally pulled even.

    Jose Francisco Torres has absolutely got to be playing more.

    I have been going bonkers waiting for him to play. Torres can ball. And it is painfully obvious that we need someone who can pass in central midfield.

    Mikey Bradley? Love the hustle. Love the ability to clean up second chances and put them away. But as a midfield general — not up to snuff. The passing just is not there.

    Jonny Bornstein — hats off to you for the goal. Great stuff. But, really, let’s see Edgar Castillo get a run.

  38. Obviously we have forgotten the first Costa Rica game where Torres was raped.

    I like him as well, he has nice skills, but lets let him mature a bit before we annoint him as the one.

    He was very good in a situation where he needed little defensive presence as Costa Rica was folding against relentless US pressure (that is the first time I have said that).

    I’ll say this about Bradley. The players he has are not that good if you look at where they play. Most can’t get starting minutes right now, etc. However, they really want to win, and they play like that all the time. Good to see.

  39. Yes, Torres was terrific and can be a solid player for the US.
    BUT Player A overwhelming in the last 25 minutes (against a tired defense) does not necessarily make him a better player than Player B underwhelming for the first 65 (against a fresh, aggressive team).

  40. Also, still no love for Casey? What does the guy have to do to prove he belongs? So one good game and one not so good game is exactly a great measuring point, but the big guy can contribute.

  41. Wow, maybe the USA should keep allowing early goals so they can wake up in the 2nd half and continue to have inspired comebacks…KIDDING!….That was an amazing display of their gritty determination and heart….When Bornstein scored the equalizer, I almost wanted to jump up and down like crazy but unfortunately I was at work watching it on ESPN360. Here’s to hoping Davies continues to stabilize and Godspeed on his recovery. Also, here’s to hoping Gooch can recover quickly. USA, USA, USA!

  42. Exciting finish. Good thing we won in Honduras though.

    Liked Altidore & Torres. Torres must play more

    I’m just disappointed in the fact that we struggled so much and almost lost to a team that may net even go to SA. Had CR not decided to pack it in and continued to attack, they’d be going today.

    This team is a very long way from being anything more than a group stage filler right now. Every team in our group will be better than CR and most will probably be happy to have to play us. I had hoped for so much more after the last WC.

    At least BB will have to make defensive adjustments now.

  43. Amazing game to watch and very inspired play. Our young guns carried the team. With Gooch and Demerit out, its time to start giving looks to Conrad, Spector, and maybe even bring in Castillo finally.If Jermiane Jones gets healthy, then that could free up Donovan for a move up top until Davies returns…and he will be back.

  44. First comment from Johnny said it all for me. Ecstatic that the USA topped CONCACAF and yet again fought from behind to get a result, but the injuries are starting to pile up, from incidents both on and off the field.


    So where we at on the injury list now?

    All of those players are potential starters for the World Cup next summer, IMO, that are currently sidelined.

  45. Of course Torres did well because he is better than 95% of our players. I’ve been wanting him to be a regular starter since the first time he played for the nats.


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