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Bruce Arena and the USMNT Felt Confident Continuing the Hex

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After lifting the Gold Cup trophy just about 1 month ago, Bruce Arena and the USMNT felt confident in heading into the Hex to try to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next summer. Unlike the Gold Cup roster, the team had help from more experienced players, such as Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Christian Pulisic and Geoff Cameron, making fans expect a win.

And a win was what we did not get. Even with over 60% of the possession, Costa Rica’s defense did not allow one goal conceded. The star for Costa Rica that night was Marco Urena, a striker who also plays for the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS. Urena scored a double, shattering the USA’s hope into qualifying for the World Cup.

Even after losing some hope, we still can be proud of Pulisic who shined on the pitch on a dark days for fans. Pulisic moved around the pitch leaving defenders behind when he had the ball and he was not afraid to move forward with the ball when it was just himself against defenders.

Captain Michael Bradley also did his job that night as well. Captain Bradley intercepted some of Costa Rica’s balls with his quick counterattacks and shot some nice long balls to his teammates.

Something we US fans can not be proud of was with Fabian Johnson, a versatile player who was a fan favorite. Being able to play over 4 different positions, every USMNT fan has high expectation for Johnson. The debate of where he belongs on the field had been a popular topic but a new topic for him has arise: should he be on the squad at all? He did not do much in the midfield and was inefficient as left wing, a position he stated he felt the most comfortable at.

Jorge Villafana has now taken up the position as left back and he did not do a horrible job that night. He made some effective choices as our left back but an ineffective choice was pairing up Tim Ream to play alongside Geoff Cameron. The two left too much space between them to allow Urena to score.

Arena’s non-losing streak as head coach has finally been broken and along with USA’s spirit. With Mexico already able to qualifying for the World Cup next summer and losing to Costa Rica, the USMNT must beat Honduras, who is 4th on the table, to stay in 3rd place on the table if they wish to keep their dreams alive.

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