Teams around the region are now wise to the ways of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who Costa Rica double-teamed at every opportunity and then fouled on those occasions when he escaped.
Costa Rica laid the thunder on the Americans for the second consecutive year, following the 4-0 drubbing back in November. It initially looked like his momentum carried him too far wide of goal, but with Tim Howard overcommitting to the near post, Urena managed to tuck his shot inside the far post to Howard's right. Then Keylor Navas took over, making two tremendous second-half saves on Christian Pulisic and Altidore to keep the visitors level before Ureña iced the match late. One of them was hosting the game at Red Bull Arena.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Urena's goal in the 30th minute broke the Americans' streak of scoring first in nine straight games. "We didn't make any plays that mattered".
The United States will travel to Honduras on Tuesday for their eighth qualifying match of the hexagonal round.
Nor do they intend to.
Costa Rica has been historically bad on its travels, but was perhaps buoyed by the curious decision to stage the game in a location where crowd support would be evenly split.
Going forward, the USA looked to counter quickly through Pulisic, but the teenager rarely had support.
"We obviously didn't play well tonight", said Arena. "We lost to a team that played better than us tonight. That's what we'll do".
Roldan made his US debut during the group stage at the Gold Cup and has earned his second consecutive call-up to Head Coach Bruce Arena's team.
If Panama were to lose at Mexico later on Friday and Honduras were to win at Trinidad and Tobago-Honduras was ahead at the time of the final whistle-then the US would be tied for third place with Honduras on eight points with Panama at seven.
The Americans travel for a Tuesday match against Honduras, which pulled even in the Hexagonal standings by beating Trinidad & Tobago, 2-1. "I thought they outplayed us". Los Catrachos face a hard schedule to close out the Hex, with matches against Costa Rica and Mexico looming in October, but the team could very well benefit from both teams having qualified for the World Cup when they take the field next month. "It's going to be a battle amongst the remaining four teams", Arena said. The U.S. needed numbers to break down the Ticos' defense, and it almost worked on a number of occasions, but it also ultimately cost the Americans more than it helped them, with the lack of midfield support leaving Ream and Cameron overexposed time after time in crucial moments. In 2001, Arena guided the MNT to a 2-1 victory at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, and eight years later the U.S. actually clinched its berth to the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a dramatic 3-2 win there.
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