Losing two home games in the Hex is a giant screw-up by the US, but it's kind of insane how much you can screw up in the Hex and still qualify for the World Cup.
The four previous World Cup qualifiers had seen Arena achieve near perfection with his decisions.
Marco Urena scored twice for the Ticos in a victory against a disjointed USA side that made critical mistakes that allowed Costa Rica quality chances on goal throughout the match.
US vs Costa Rica: The two football teams U.S. and Costa Rica of Central America, Carribean are going to face each other today in the World Cup Qualifying.
More so than having good support, however, was the way that talented Costa Rica managed to execute its gameplan. The stage was set for the Americans to post a big home win on Friday night, but Costa Rica didn't get that memo.
Marco Urena supplied the scoring for Costa Rica (4-1-2, 14 points), connecting twice.
Herculez Gomez and Kasey Keller reflect on the U.S.'s psyche after their crushing defeat ahead of a crucial Honduras clash. "I thought they outplayed us".
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Chasing a goal, the US opened the second half at a fever pitch, with Wood getting on the end of a Howard punt and almost beating Keylor Navas in the Costa Rica goal. The U.S. attacking on set plays, normally a strong point, produced nearly nothing, and playmaker Christian Pulisic went down hard under the force of several fouls.
Altidore almost provided the US the equalizer it was seeking in the 80th minute, but Navas came up big once again, stuffing the forward's attempt from close range.
It was only the fourth time in the past 32 years that the United States lost at home in qualifying play, also falling to the Ticos in 1985, Honduras in 2001 and Mexico in 2016.
That early scare was a foretaste of things to come for the American defence, which never looked completely comfortable in the opening 45 minutes.
The Americans (2-3-2) will visit Honduras (2-3-2) for a Tuesday afternoon kickoff in boiling San Pedro Sula before wrapping up the schedule next month against Panama in Orlando, Florida, and at last-place Trinidad and Tobago.
Altidore had been boiling about several punishing hits and an apparent foul by Waston in the 24th minute in the penalty area that was ignored by referee John Pitti.
"(Pulisic) had a tough game today", Arena said. Give Costa Rica credit. "We had to break down seven or eight players for long periods of the game". Altidore took a cynical kick on the ankle from Johan Venegas, wheeled around furiously to confront his aggressor, but earned a yellow card for his trouble and will now miss Tuesday's visit to Honduras. We had a couple of plays where we have to put the ball in the back of the net and it's 1-0. "You feel really good hearing the fans chant 'Ole, ' in the U.S.'s house, and we did a good job". Dempsey took a free kick from the right and put it into the wall, with the ball finding Pulisic on the left, who put a ball through a defender's legs for a deflection on goal, but Costa Rica goalie Navas made a sensational one-handed reach while hitting the ground to keep the USA scoreless.