Live: Costa Rica at U.S. from Home Depot Center

Final: U.S. 0 Costa Rica 1

The U.S. lost, but were never defeated tonight in front of a boisterous crowd of 15,798.

Yes, Costa Rica won – on a rather fortunate goal after a devastating pass – but U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann will be encouraged by the manner of the loss.

The U.S. never stopped pushing, Agudelo looked once again more enlivened than the player he replaced, Brek Shea was a constant attacking threat, the back four looked generally solid (and fast) and Jose Torres sprayed long passes around in midfield in a way that suggests he complements Landon Donovan well.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable game and something to build on.

More later.


The U.S. is pushing for the equalizer in the final 10 minutes. Juan Agudelo sent a roar through the crowd in the 84th minute when he beat two of three Costa Rican defenders in succession in the opposing penalty area before being dispossessed.


Both Brek Shea and Sacha Kljestan have received yellow cards after the Costa Ricans took exception to a 78th minute challenge he made on the goalkeeper during an attack down the left wing.

In the ensuring melee, Shea managed to escape further punishment after pushing Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas over.


(Apologies, the Internet has gone south here at the HDC).

Jose Torres had a 30-yard shot diverted around the post in the 71st minute.


Costa Rica went ahead in the 65th minute when a long ball by Alvaro Sanchez caught the U.S. defense napping. Alvaro Saborio sent the cross over to Michael Barrantes — beating two U.S. defenders in the process – who saw his effort saved by Tim Howard, but Rodney Wallace followed up with the diving header from about six yards.


Juan Agudelo has replaced Jozy Altidore in the 62nd minute; the teenager gets a huge cheer from the crowd.


Landon Donovan got a yellow card for an innocuous yellow card in midfield in the 58th minute; that was not a bookable offense.


The U.S. had the ball in the net in the 55th minute after a long Robbie Rogers run put Jozy Altidore through; Altidore was offside.


From the AP story on the Ireland-Slovakia scoreless draw today:

Striker Robbie Keane, who flew back to Dublin this week after starting his new job with the Los Angeles Galaxy, blew a gift-wrapped chance for a 74th-minute winner.

Winger Damien Duff floated a pinpoint cross into the box to Keane, who had got inside his marker. But Ireland’s record goal-scorer headed over the crossbar from barely four yards out.


The pizzaz went out of the game in the last 15 minutes of the half, but Costa Rica arguably had their two best chances of the night so far in first half stoppage time.

Captain Randall Azofeifa had a sharp shot Tim Howard dived and saved on the six-yard line; moments later Alvaro Sanchez followed up with a shot Howard punched over the bar.

There’s a buzz in the crowd tonight even at the half with the U.S. looker sharper, more energized than their opponents.

Still, Costa Rica are credited with two shots on goal and the U.S. none, which doesn’t really reflect the run of play.


Robbie Rogers and Brek Shea are alternating wings as we figured they would tonight. Almost a half hour gone and the U.S has had the vast amount of possession.

Altidore almost broke through in the 28th minute, but the Costa Rican goalkeeper collects the ball.


Landon Donovan sent a 25-yard free kick over the Ticos’ bar in the 23rd minute.


A Costa Rican snapshot in the 19th minute that flashes past the far post is their best chance of the game so far; Michael Orozco Fiscal was pulled down so the Ticos could get the shot away though. The Honduran ref didn’t catch that.


Is it just me or is there a far looser feel to this team already than under Bob Bradley?


The game is six minutes old and already Brek Shea looks like he’s going to play a prominent role down the left wing. The three U.S. attacks so far have all come through him; he set up a sixth minute Landon Donovan shot and moments later set Jozy Altidore up for a goal scoring chance, too.


Rogers is on the right wing; Shea on the left to start the game.


Gorgeous night for football this Labor Day weekend in the South Bay where a warm day has given way to a breezy, comfortable night.

Looks like Sam’s Army/American Outlaws will save the atmosphere tonight, massed behind Tim Howard’s goal and already in full cry given that the stadium is likely to be half full or half empty depending on your point of view.

LA always empties out on summer weekends, which is why the Galaxy and Chivas USA never play at home on those occasions, but apparently U.S. Soccer didn’t get the memo.

This game breaks all the rules for a Southern California USMNT friendly – featuring a Latin American opponent – but it appears at this point Ticos fans will be outnumbered which is good to see.

USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann is sending out what is nominally a 4-3-3 formation with what I presume are Robbie Rogers and Brek Shea arrayed as the left and right wingers respectively and Jozy Altidore the lone forward up front. Landon Donovan will occupy his familiar withdrawn striking role as playmaker with Fontana’s Maurice Edu stopping things up as the holding midfielder.

Here’s the U.S. XI: Tim Howard-Timmy Chandler, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo – Maurice Edu, Jose Torres, Landon Donovan – Brek Shea, Jozy Altidore, Robbie Rogers.

Juan Agudelo is among the options off the bench as is former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

Chivas USA defender Michael umana gets the start for Costa Rica in defense.

Here’s the Ticos’ XI (4-3-3): Keylor Navas-Michael Umana, Roy Miller, Carlos Johnson, Jhonny Acosta-Michael Barrantes, Randall Azofeifa, Alvaro Sanchez-Josue Martinez, Randall Brenes, Alvaro Saborio

The game is on ESPN2.

Refresh this post for updates throughout the game.

Underlining the new fan friendly approach from U.S. Soccer, Klinsmann conducted a little Q&A before the game on the PA system.

The upper deck is closed tonight as are several sections next to the club seats at the corners of the stadium forcing fans closer together in an effort to enhance the atmosphere.

It’s worked. This is a loud crowd tonight, perhaps illustrating that a long holiday weekend helps cull the casual fans and attract support from hard-core types.

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