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The United States soccer team has a Jekyll and Hyde personality that makes it difficult to determine who will show up for Wednesday night’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.

In last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Panama, the Americans were as stagnant as the ships were retreating outside the canal.

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“It’s really disappointing to watch the team, especially when we’re not playing as well as we can,” said left-back Antonee Robinson, who hasn’t made the trip due to UK COVID-related restrictions. 19. “Having to watch and not being able to try to help is frustrating.”

The United States sank in the second half of last month’s 4-1 win over Honduras and last week’s 2-0 win over Jamaica. The game was hit or miss in a 0-0 draw in El Salvador and a 1-1 draw at home with Canada.

Part of the nervous and skeptical fan base after failing to reach the hyperventile 2018 World Cup at DEFCON1 in response to any hiccups.

US coach Gregg Berhalter traded seven starters to Panama in an effort to have new legs ready against Costa Rica, and a team already sidelined Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna due to injuries were unable to string together many assists. without Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson. The Americans failed to get a single shot on target.

“When I took responsibility for the result the other day it was not about player choice because we believe in every player on this team,” Berhalter said on Tuesday. “I don’t regret at any time having played in this formation. I regret more our performances and some of the offensive adjustments that we could have made in this game to be more mobile, to move more, but not for the staff.”

Mexico lead CONCACAF qualifying with 11 points after five of 14 matches, and the United States have eight, ahead of Panama on goal difference. Canada follows with seven and Costa Rica six after rallying for a 2-1 home win over El Salvador.

El Salvador has five points, Honduras three and Jamaica two.

Costa Rica, 44th, have qualified for four of the last five World Cups, missing in 2010. The United States, 13th overall, have lost three consecutive qualifying games to the Ticos: 3-1 and 4-0 away and 2-0. in New Jersey.

” It’s huge. It’s a really big game. We all need to be ready. There is no other option, ”said defenseman Walker Zimmerman. “You watch your home games, these games are the games you have to win and they get more and more important when you don’t get a result on the road.”

In 66 home qualifying matches since 1976, the United States has 51 wins, 11 draws and four losses: two against Costa Rica (1986, 2017) and one against Mexico (2016) and Honduras (2001).

Robinson (knee) and McKennie (quadriceps) are uncertain for an American team that has a slow start routine in place.

Americans have struggled to break both high presses and low blocks. They haven’t scored a goal in eight straight first halves since Shaq Moore’s 20-second goal against Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and Sunday’s second half has been similarly sluggish.

“It’s just a testament to the fact that we build confidence in games,” said Robinson. “Maybe in the future it just means we have to be a little more ruthless.”

Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell will miss the game with a sprained right ankle, and forward José Guillermo Ortiz due to a positive COVID-19 test. They were replaced by Christian Bolaños, a 37-year-old winger with Saprissa, and Álvaro Saborío, a 39-year-old striker with San Carlos.

“It all took me by surprise,” Bolaños said. “I was training with my club and I have to fulfill all the conditions very quickly. The years go by and on, but there is nothing that makes you more proud than playing for your country.

Costa Rica started five players aged 32 or older in Sunday’s win over El Salvador, and the rest were at least 27 years old.

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“I don’t have a complete picture of the state of Costa Rican football, but we really need to do an assessment of the work in the junior divisions,” said coach Luis Fernando Suárez.

Berhalter coached the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer from 2013 to 2018, and the US team played five consecutive home qualifiers against Mexico in the former Columbus Crew Stadium, winning four “Dos a cero” matches before a 2-1 loss in 2016. The Crew moved to their new downtown stadium in July.

“The fans are original Major League Soccer fans. They are the ones that go back to day one,” Berhalter said. “And it’s a special environment.”


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