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USMNT vs. Costa Rica: SBI Match Night

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The U.S. men’s national team wraps up its October World Cup qualifying window at home against Costa Rica tonight (7p.m., ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN) knowing a win at home in Columbus, Ohio would ensure a comfortable spot in the top three heading towards November’s qualifiers.

Standing in the way is a Costa Rica side that also knows a win tonight would propel the Ticos into a top-three spot. A draw in Honduras followed by a home win against El Salvador has Costa Rica knocking on the door of the top three, and the Ticos also know they have won three straight World Cup qualifiers against the USMNT.

Gregg Berhalter is trotting out a lineup has no players who took part in the last qualifier between the two Concacaf rivals, with Ricardo Pepi, Yunus Musah and Brenden Aaronson among the youngsters set to feature in tonight’s big match

Here is the USMNT starting XI that will face Costa Rica (Tim Weah replaced Paul Arriola in the lineup after Arriola was injured in pre-game warmups:

Here is a rundown of SBI’s pre-match coverage:

USMNT aiming for bounce-back performance vs. Costa Rica

Clear improvements have Antonee Robinson looking like the USMNT answer at left back

The SBI Show: Episode 333 (USMNT-Costa Rica preview)

Who will, and who should start for the USMNT vs. Costa Rica?

Concacaf World Cup qualifying preview: Canada faces Panama


SBI staff will be providing updates and analysis in the comments section below, so feel free to follow along, and you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions as well.

Enjoy the action.

Comments

  1. Agree with Ives that Musah, McKennie and Adams operate as best midfielders, this was clear from the Wales game. USMNT looks like a completely different team that can dominate and create diagonal passes into dangerous areas, be incisive in the middle and be bolder than any USMNT I recall and then win the ball back when they lose it.

    Lletget, Roldan and Acosta simply don’t belong on the field, especially more than one at a time.

    Busio growing stronger and could be a challenger to McKennie if he gets sloppy with the ball.

    The wings would be spoiled for choice if everyone is ever healthy, but for now the depth is appreciated. Pulisic, Reyna, Aaronson, Weah, Hoppe and KDF. No need for Arriola…

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  2. With Pulsic, Reyna and Busio and the starters on the field that is our best 14. Only goal; keeper and the robinson boys over 22. Kudos for Berhalter competing for and getting Musah, Dest and Pepi.

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  3. – An expected result for the 3rd game. Qualifying is just a grind in CONCAFAF, but much more fire in the belly tonight.
    – Richard’s debut was impressive. A breakout November for our CB corps, continuing to build depth.
    – It seems the weak spots now have become the wingbacks. Really a lost opportunity for Moore and Bello. May see different options next month for depth, probably Scally. Next man up time.
    – Next month 2 games, much easier for fatigue and roster management. Much rather play Mexico in a 2 game window. Here’s hoping for a full, healthy roster for that set.

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  4. GB had his best lineup fresh for this last home game of the window, and they looked fresh and eager and able and willing to execute his game plan, and they did. Last game a turd for him, not this time. The defensive execution was excellent after about the first 20 minutes and almost the entire game seemed played in CRs half. Want to highlight Pepi, he set the tone for the D and never relented, and dangerous in attack too, effective holdup, he just did it all but score tonight. Midfield dominant

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  5. They are all going to be like this. Even when they dominate the games are still nail biters. I give props to Weah. I wanted Hoppe instead but he had an impact so way to go Tim Weah.

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  6. Wow. Pepi pulled down in area … now _everyone_ thought that was a penalty.
    .
    Hoppe & Yedlin on, Dest and Weah off. Musah tiring, may need to be next?
    .

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  7. Wow. Just after McKennie had the ball stolen in midfield, Balboa was warning again that one bad touch, one bad giveaway could open them up to a counter, and sure enough, Bryan Ruiz takes off down the field and would have been in on goal if he hadn’t been old enough and slow enough now for Miles Robinson to rescue the ball at the last minute.
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    It is just me or do Costa Rica seem to be targeting McKennie to try to force a turnover?
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    Finally Adams manages to steal the ball himself. More of that would be good …
    .
    Nagbe & Caleb Porter trying to look hopeful despite a far overhit center from A. Robinson … I still miss Nagbe.
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    Crowd said to be chanting for Zardes to come on.
    .

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    • Ruiz is left footed, still, at his old age and lacked the cojones to finish the opportunity with his right foot, and screwed it all up. I’ve always liked him, but at this point in his career to not even get the try for fear of his right foot is sad. McKennie had quite the game even with some not so sweet touches, but he also had many that were. E Busio gioca bene, no 😉

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      • Ruiz is a CONCACAF legend, but he is done at this level. The CRC fanbase is largely beside themselves at the results so far, as the federation has mortgaged the future for one more run with an aged out group.

        Two of the late subs they brought on were 37 and 39…insane for a side who considers themselves contenders.

  8. in terms of GB coaching i reiterate my “mistake” theory — arriola was the announced starter and weah another happy mistake

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  9. the defensive intensity is excellent from all USMNT after the initial burst of CRs tries at the counter, then CR stopped even trying the counter. We’ll see how long CR can go for it hard on the counter with numbers or if they even do 2nd half with the score tied so far. In tutte lingue, si puo’ vedere, eh? lol

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  10. little too much farting around berhalter ball, the good chances are when we play weah or musah into space and hit a ground cross in, not the endless back passing to back or keepaway. where’d the directness go?

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    • 3-5-2? Richards… Brooks.. M. Rob? A.Rob and Dest as wingbacks? May work but would Brooks be enough? Don’t know that we’re deep enough to play this all the time.

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  11. Glad to see this lineup. Team playing well overall, excepting a few sloppy passes going forward. Could be a tad more measured, but I like how we’re chasing goals. Dest with a blast. I’m feeling confident we can win this one. Hope to see Busio and maybe LDT in the 2nd half.

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  12. Is there VAR?

    Costa Rica got denied stone cold, 5000 percent penalty.

    Absolutely shocking!!! Talk about game changing decisions.

    What travesty!!!

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    • No, there is no VAR in Concacaf WCQ, because some of the smaller teams apparently don’t have the facilities to install it.
      .
      A Guardian blogger thought it was a penalty; Balado thought Richards did well and got the ball, and I was inclined to agree at the time.
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      McKennie was evidently also called for a handball? And Marcelo Balboa is quite concerned that the US has tried too hard to play out from the back, without the technical skill to always pull it off reliably.
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      Dest looks so confident going forward, but then doesn’t always seem to connect with anyone else to continue the momentum, and doesn’t always get back. I appreciated the article about Robinson and how he feels he’s learning tactics and defense more instead of just relying on speed.
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      Navas is apparently coming off, with little warmup for his backup keeper.
      .

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      • It may have been a foul, but hoo boy, that would have been soft as Richards got between the ball and the CRC player (this is important) and then the CRC player kicked Richards in a lame attempt to play the ball.

    • The Spanish commentators made it a point to point out that Dest coming back on the field from the goal line made the attacker onside….when Berhalter saw the repeat he kind of stopped protesting.

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    • I missed the early goal myself, but if I understood some fast Spanish in passing, reference was made to Dest, who had run forward and didn’t get back in time. Apparently there’s a rule that says if a player goes out of bounds voluntarily during play, he’s considered to be still on, or something? Anyway, initial protests reportedly cooled down after the replay was watched back on pitchside tablets. Diego Balado also was at pains to say, if I understood correctly, that it wasn’t Steffen’s fault, as McKennie had missed a block he should have made.
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      At least they got a corner, though they’re still saying that passes in toward the area aren’t yet finding anyone.

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      • Sorry, hadn’t seen Edwin’s post.
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        They’re warning that the US needs to be very alert against fast counters.
        .

  13. Paul Arriola is the real surprise in this lineup, but he did go just 45 vs. Panama, so if he can bring the energy he brought against Jamaica then it just might work out.

    The rest of the lineup is pretty straight forward, though I thought we would see Gianluca Busio. Musah making his third straight start is surprising, he looked a bit tired vs. Panama, but when he’s on, he’s still a force.

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  14. Berhalter: “What? Didn’t like seven lineup changes? How’s nine sound? You losers complain again and I’ll change all 12.”
    ——————————
    Then again, it’s hard to complain about that and also complain that he fielded a B team against Panama.

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