Mike Windischmann helped the USMNT to its only result in Costa Rica, a 1-1 draw in 1985. (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

This is not a pretty story, the U.S. men’s national team’s attempts at securing a win in Costa Rica.

The Americans have never won in Costa Rica. heir lone bright spot was a 1-1 draw in 1985, which was upstaged by a shocking home defeat several days later, which eliminated them from qualifying for the 1986 World Cup.

For the record, the U.S. is 0-9-1 in qualifiers in that neck of the Concacaf woods, having been outscored 24-7.

“Beautiful country but a nightmare venue to win a soccer game,” said former U.S. international Erhardt Kapp.

Ironically, the Americans don’t have to win against the Ticos at Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday night to reach the 2022 World Cup.

As long as it doesn’t lose by more than six goals (thanks to superior goal differential – +13 to +3) , the USA is in line to returning to soccer’s promised land.

Here is a look at the U.S. history in Costa Rica:

U.S. 1, Costa Rica 1 (May 25, 1985)

As time goes by, this game becomes much more of a legend because it was the only time the Americans had secured a point and a tie in qualifying down here.

“We had beaten Costa Rica, 3-0, in the 1984 Olympics and this was a revenge game for them after that loss,” Kapp said.

Mike Windischmann, who captained the U.S. at the 1990 World Cup, and his teammates realized that the night before as Ticos fans tried to intimidate the gringos from the north

“Like playing the loud music that you could hear it at the hotel,” Windischmann said several years ago. “They were trying to disturb us already.”

It continued into the next morning as the team prepared for the game, which had a 10 a.m. kickoff at Estadio Alejandro Moreira in front of 25,000 Ticos supporters in Alajuela just outside the capital.

“It’s funny because I remember being in the hotel and the game was at 10 o’clock,” he said. “We got up early for the National Team breakfast. I turned on the TV and it was six o’clock in the morning and I thought it was a repeat from another game and the fans were already in the stadium at six in the morning. They were all getting ready, cheering. We knew that we were going to have that hostile crowd when we got there for the game at 10 o’clock.”

And it continued when the U.S. team arrived at the stadium as the players were pelted with coins and batteries thrown from the stands.

“It was very hot down there, so we had to get ready to play,” Windischmann said. “We had a hostile crowd. Then in the U.S., it’s not like now when you go to Kansas City and it’s a pro-U.S. crowd. Any time we had exhibitions, there was not as many Americans in the stands. So you kind of got used to that.”

Hostile in so many different ways.

“After both national anthems were played government protesters ran onto the field and about 25 MP’s totally manhandled the protesters to the ground, dragging them off the field to the spectators’ cheers.”

Only three minutes before halftime, the Ticos grabbed the lead as goalkeeper Arnie Mausser fumbled a low cross as Oscar Ramirez put home the rebound in front of a crowd of 25,000 at Estadio Alejandro Morera in Alajuela.

Minutes later, Windischmann sent a long pass into the penalty area that Jeff Hooker ran down on the left side. He crossed the ball to John Kerr, Jr., who sent an awkward volley into the net.

Windischmann, who remembered the goal “like it was yesterday,” said there was “euphoria” on the field.

“It was really exciting and like a lot of times on the road, its 1-1, you try to keep the score at 1-1,” he said. “Costa Rica was trying to put pressure on. We did a pretty decent job of trying to stop their attack. The whistle blew and we had a 1-1 tie and we snuck a point out. It was the first time anybody ever got a point down in Costa Rica.”

Added Kapp: “All we wanted to do was come away with a tie, knowing a win at home was all we needed to qualify for the World Cup. We were so happy after the game because we knew how difficult it was to play in Alajuela. The fans are right on top of you and 20,000 fans cheering for the home team makes it extremely hard to play your game.

“I remember John Kerr scoring to make it 1-1 and then we went into a defensive shell to secure the result. We just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible because the home crowd was not happy. Luckily we had a police escort back to our hotel. We were so proud of our accomplishment!

“It’s never a lot of fun playing in that type of atmosphere but a World Cup berth was riding on these two games and I definitely thought we were finally going to make it.”

The Costa Ricans, however, would the last word as only five days later they managed to sneak out of Murdock Stadium on the campus of El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. with three points and a 1-0 victory, a result that boosted the Ticos into the final round, the CONCACAF hexagonal, and turned the U.S. into World Cup outsiders again — exactly a year to the day that the 1986 competition was going to kick off on May 31, 1986.

The U.S. had not qualified for a World Cup since 1950.

“I just realized the disappointment only days later,” Windischmann said. “I realized that maybe I will get another chance qualifying with the national team again. But a lot of guys on that team, that was their last game. I believe a couple of weeks later we were supposed to play England. The whole roster changed. All those guys on the national team, disappointed, didn’t want to play in that game, basically they were done with the national team. That was disappointing.”

“That dream was never meant to be,” Kapp said.

Some four years later, Windischmann and a new generation of players made some more history for the United States, securing a berth at Italia ’90. This went down to the final day of qualifying as the U.S. became the final and 24th team to book a spot as the Americans defeated host Trinidad & Tobago, 1-0.

Costa Rica 1, U.S. 0 (April 16, 1989)

In his very first qualifier as coach, Bob Gansler watched his team drop a 1-0 decision at Estadio Nacional. Midfielder Gilberto Rhoden scored the only goal 14 minutes into the match before 26,271.

“We didn’t play that well,” Windischmann said. “There’s not really excuses to be made.”

Evaristo Coronado, who scored the goal that eliminated the U.S. from the 1986 competition, fired a shot toward the left post. U.S. keeper Jeff Duback was ready to make the save, but Rhoden deflected the ball into the net.

Exactly two weeks later, the Americans exacted their revenge in a 1-0 victory at the St. Louis Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo.

Costa Rica 2, U.S. 1 (Dec. 1, 1996)

Without the injured Tab Ramos, Eric Wynalda and Thomas Dooley, the U.S. went down to a 2-1 defeat at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa after a 1-0 qualifying win at Trinidad & Tobago a week earlier.

The Americans could have used those players. They also could have used a helmet or two because the home fans at Saprissa Stadium threw garbage, coins, batteries and bags of urine at the visitors. U.S. defender Alexi Lalas was hit in the head by a projectile.

Paulo Cesar Wanchope scored against Friedel in the 40th minute and Wilmer Lopez made it 2-0 with 6 minutes from time before Cobi Jones struck with seconds remaining to slice the score in half.

Thirteen days later, the U.S. prevailed over the Ticos by the same score at home, to clinch a spot in the final CONCACAF round.

Costa Rica 3, U.S. 2 (March 23, 1997)

Goalkeeper Kasey Keller entered the match with five consecutive shutouts, a streak that ended in this encounter.

This time the Costa Rica fans had to clean up their act or face stiff sanctions by FIFA. They did — the sellout crowd of 22,000 was on its best behavior – but the U.S. still couldn’t overcome an attack by the Central Americans that broke loose for three goals in a 3-2 triumph.

It was a rare feat for the Americans to strike twice on the road as Roy Lassiter, a second-half sub who played professionally in Costa Rica, equalized in the 68th minute for a 2-2 tie after he intercepted a pass from Mauricio Solis that was intended for Ronald Gomez. But Gomez finally got a foot on the ball for the game-winner in the 76th minute. Harold Wallace started the scoring sequence, picking up a loose ball outside the penalty area. He faked Lalas and chipped a cross that defender Mike Burns kicked onto the foot of Gomez at the near post.

“When they give you a point, you should not give it back,” U.S. general secretary Hank Steinbrecher said.

No one had to remind coach Steve Sampson, either. “We had that one point in our hands … we lost it,'” he said. “We tried to hang on and cover the spaces on defense, but their speed was too much.”

Hernan Medford opened the scoring in the 10th minute after Harold Wallace intercepted a bad pass by Dooley that was intended for Cobi Jones. It was the first goal Keller allowed in 562 minutes, which was only 32 minutes short of the federation scoreless record held by Mark Dodd.

Wynalda tied it in the 24th minute, scoring from 15 yards for his 30th international goal, sending the ball into the upper right corner. But eight minutes later, Solis dribbled down the middle of the field and beat Keller with a 35-yard shot into the upper left corner for a 2-1 advantage.

“We shouldn’t have allowed those gaps in the back, we should have been tighter,” Burns said. “With 15 minutes left, that should never have happened.”

Costa Rica 2, U.S. 1 (July 23, 2000)

This game was a disaster in more ways than one.

The U.S. exited Saprissa Stadium, furious, claiming they were robbed on a phantom handball call by referee Peter Prendergast of Jamaica. He brazenly made the call two minutes into stoppage time on defender Gregg Berhalter, the current USMNT head coach. Berhalter headed the ball out of bounds, but referee Peter Prendergast ruled differentlyl

But with so much at stake in front of a raucous and rowdy home crowd of about 20,000, perhaps Prendergast gave into some personal survival instincts in what was a deadlocked game at the time.

Medford (who coached the national team until his dismissal in 2008, converted the ensuing penalty kick and several minutes later Costa Rica walked off with a controversial 2-1 victory.

Afterwards, an incensed coach Bruce Arena, captain Claudio Reyna and midfielder Earnie Stewart needed to be restrained by security guards and U.S. team officials from going after Prendergast at the center circle.

“I told him he cheated us,” Arena said before storming out of the post-match press conference. “The call was ‘disgraceful’ and ‘that’s not the way to decide a game’ .”

Reyna threw his captain’s armband at Prendergast. “Concacaf referees are miles behind the rest of the world,” he said. “I don’t think the referee was awful the whole time, but that particular play was the game. It’s terrible.”

Rolando Fonseca’s eight-yard header had given the Costa Ricans the lead in the 10th minute, but Stewart tied it, putting home a rebound of an Ante Razov shot in the 65th minute. To further frustrate and complicate matters, Eddie Lewis, a much more accomplished passer than shooter, missed two golden point-blank opportunities to score.

As time was winding down, U.S. TV announcer Ty Keough surmised that Frankie Hejduk’s ill-advised trip on Austin Berry in the penalty area in the 89th minute could result in a make-up call. He turned out to be exactly right.

By the time Predergast had whistled the match over, the field was so littered by paper and heavens knows what else that it looked more like a party paper store than a soccer field.

Medford sent a cross into the area that Berhalter headed down, deflecting off his body and then out of bounds for an apparent Costa Rican corner kick.

“I headed it out of bounds,” Berhalter told the Washington Post. “Basically, that’s it. . . . It was a case where the referee was under pressure to call something. My hands were at my sides the way they always are.”

“To call a penalty on something like that, I’ve just never seen it before,” Keller said. “The Costa Rican players didn’t even react that much. They were happy to have a corner kick. . . . Personally, I just don’t think [Prendergast] wanted to go to the airport [and face the Costa Rican fans] after a 1-1 draw.”

Speaking of the airport, ironically, the next day at Miami International Airport, Washington Post writer Steve Goff ran into Prendergast while waiting for a connecting flight to Jamaica.

Prendergast said that “it was pretty clear to me from my angle” that the ball struck Berhalter’s hand. He added that the ball hit Berhalter in the face and then “had a change of direction that was not consistent with the ball coming down” in a routine situation. “I looked at my [linesman] and he concurred with me.”

Added Prendergast: “It’s unfortunate the game was decided that way, but for me, I have to do what is right. . . . For the good of the game, that’s what I’m about.”

Asked about the non-call on Hejduk, Prendergast replied, “There was clearly no contact. It was more than a dive.”

He referred to a photograph in the San Jose newspaper La Nacion, which showed Berry in the air and the sliding Hejduk a short distance behind him.

Asked about Reyna’s outburst, Prendergast said he cited the midfielder for the armband incident in his post-match report. Reyna faced a fine and suspension from either FIFA or CONCACAF. “I understand the emotion and he said what he had to say, but he went too far,” he said.

For their conduct, Arena was slapped with a three-game suspension and Reyna with a two-game ban.

Costa Rica 2, U.S. 0 (Sept. 5, 2001)

Desperately needing points after a devastating and rare home loss – 3-2 to Honduras, the U.S. needed to bounce back — in Costa Rica, of all place.

The U.S. deployed a revamped lineup that played like it wanted to get out of Saprissa with a scoreless tie and a point, but failed miserably in a 2-0 loss before 30,000 exuberant and screaming fans.

Defenders Steve Cherundolo and David Regis were benched. Jeff Agoos and Eddie Pope still patrolled the middle, but Carlos Llamosa and Greg Vanney were on the right and left flanks, respectively. Backup defensive midfielder Richie Williams, now a Red Bulls assistant coach, got a rare start, teaming with Brentwood, L.I. native Chris Armas. Jon Kirovski remained up top, joined by Cobi Jones, subbing for 19-year-old phenom Landon Donovan.

Arena’s ultra-conservative strategy worked for 40 minutes — until Llamosa pulled down Ronald Gomez in the penalty area. Friedel guessed that Rolando Fonseca would kick right and the Costa Rican booted the ball down the middle for a 1-0 lead. Fonseca added another score in the 68th minute on a through pass by Mauricio Solis.

“The better team won today,” Arena said. “We wanted to get through the first pass but we dropped off too deep on defense.”

Costa Rica 3, U.S. 0 (Oct. 8, 2005)

Carlos Hernandez scored two goals as Costa Rica became the third CONCACAF nation to qualify for the 2006 World Cup with a 3-0 win at Saprissa.

The United States, the first nation to qualify from the region, left its offense home. The defense didn’t fare much better, often looking disorganized in front of former MetroStars goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was making his first start in qualifying.

Costa Rica controlled the flow of play for much of the first half, and finally broke through in the 34th minute.
Alvaro Saborio got through the defense on a long through ball and made a point blank shot on a charging Howard. The rebound got to Wanchope, who finished into an open net. In the 61st minute, the U.S. was unable to clear a cross from the right flank that Costa Rica’s Ronald Gomez controlled and slid to Hernandez, who had been on the field barely two minutes. Hernandez’s 25-yard shot beat Howard low to his right, then glanced off the far post and in.

In the 88th minute, Hernandez stunned Howard and the U.S., volleying a misplayed clearance from 30 yards off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

MLS scoring leader Taylor Twellman had the U.S.’s best chance in the 80th minute, heading down Bobby Convey’s corner kick, but the shot was cleared off the line by Jervis Drummond. Earlier, Twellman had a goal called back as it was ruled offside. DaMarcus Beasley had a last minute chance as well, on the restart after Hernandez’s second goal. He got off a quick shot, which was easily stopped by Costa Rica goalkeeper Jose Poras.

The U.S. National Team entered the Monster’s Cave Wednesday night optimistic and confident that it could finally get a tie or even a win in that unforgiving stadium.

Instead, the Americans quickly crashed back to reality, leaving with yet another nightmare result at their personal house of horrors, Saprissa Stadium.

Costa Rica 3, U.S. 1 (June 3, 2009)

The USMNT entered the Monster’s Cave Wednesday night optimistic and confident that it could finally get a tie or even a win in that unforgiving stadium.

Instead, the Americans quickly crashed back to reality, leaving with yet another nightmare result at their personal house of horrors, Saprissa Stadium.

Buoyed by a goal scored only 79 seconds into the match and another in the 13th minute, Costa Rica rolled to a relatively easy 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over an embarrassed American side.

To be fair, the score wasn’t that close.

“As a group tonight, we came up short in every way,” U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said.

It was the worst qualifying result for the Americans since their 3-0 defeat to Costa Rica here on Oct. 8, 2005. At least the visitors had an excuse in that game, leaving several key players at home because they already had clinched a berth for Germany 2006. Nothing has been decided for South Africa 2010 and the U.S. hardly looked like legitimate CONCACAF contenders — at least for one night.

The loss dropped the U.S. (2-1-1, seven points) into second place in the CONCACAF hexagonal behind the Ticos (3-1-0, 10). The Americans will face a must-win situation against Honduras in Chicago on Saturday.

“We didn’t compete hard enough,” U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “We got beat to balls. They caused us problems we couldn’t figure out. A lot went wrong.

“No one is going to feel sorry for us. We’ve taken our lumps now. We cruised in the semifinal round and we’re no longer at the top of the group. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Asked if he thought the Americans were embarrassed, forward Landon Donovan replied, “I don’t feel embarrassed. I’m disappointed. It’s disappointing to play that way. We were never in control because of the way we started the game. and that’s what makes it difficult.”

Saprissa, its artificial turf and its exuberant fans has been a horrendous place for the U.S., which has never won here (0-6-0).

Howard refused to use that as an excuse. “It’s a great place to play,” he said. “It’s an awesome atmosphere. . . . That’s the least of our problems tonight. We created our own problems tonight, not the turf or atmosphere.”

The Americans were on the verge of getting shut out for the third consecutive time here, but Donovan’s penalty kick two minutes into stoppage time ended a 295-minute scoreless streak at Saprissa (dating back to Earnie Stewart’s goal in a 2-1 loss on July 23, 2000).

It was way too little and way too late for the Americans, who were beaten in virtually every phase of the game continually.

“We were under pressure from the start and we didn’t control the game. They took advantage,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “I just don’t think we were good enough.”

It was one of those nights in which the Americans could do very little right as the Ticos struck first on a beautiful goal less than two minutes after kickoff.

Alvaro Saborio fired a left-footed shot from the top right of the penalty area into the upper right corner of the net. There was no way that Howard could have gotten to the ball it was placed so deftly.

“We were behind the eight ball before we even got started,” Howard said. “It’s not like the crowd needed any more motivation to be up for the game. We didn’t deal with it properly. The guy hits a great shot. It couldn’t have started worse, that’s for sure.”

Costa Rica’s second goal came off a give-and-go between Angel Esteban Sirias and Bryan Ruiz on the left side. The ball came to Celso Borges, who connected from the middle of the box in the 13th minute for a 2-0 lead.

“We weren’t smart in the first part of the game,” Donovan said. “We didn’t play the way we should have. In the environment we’re in, the situation we’re in, playing on turf, playing away, we didn’t play the way we needed to and that’s disappointing because we have players who know better.”

The Americans were forced to press the rest of the match, leaving gaping holes in the back for Costa Rican counterattacks as central defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyweu cleaned up in front of the net.

Even though the U.S. tried to get on the board, players rushed their passes and never truly made many dangerous threats. For example, during breaks into Tico territory, Donovan twice lost the ball on simple tackles in the first half. While trying to set up overlapping left fullback DaMarcus Beasley, Jozy Altidore’s pass picked up too much momentum on the artificial turf.

Costa Rica 3, U.S. 1 (Sept. 6, 2013)

Estadio Saprissa. Estadio Nacional.

It doesn’t matter where Costa Rica plays the United States in their country. The Ticos always have their foes’ number.

That number is usually three, as in the number of points the Costa Ricans accrue when they host the Americans in a World Cup qualifier in San Jose.

The result certainly was no different on Friday night. Costa Rica sprinted out to an early two-goal advantage in front of a loud, enthusiastic and boisterous crowd and recorded a 3-1 victory over the United States before a capacity crowd of 35,000 at Estadio Nacional.

Johnny Acosta and Celso Borges scored first-half goals and Joel Campbell sealed it with an insurance tally for the Ticos (4-2-1, 13 points), who moved past the Americans (4-2-1, 13) and into the lead.

Clint Dempsey converted a penalty kick late in the first half for the Americans, who had their 12-game winning streak snapped.

The loss might have ramifications for the USA against Mexico on Tuesday as the Americans lost three players for that match because they had accrued their second yellow card of the hexagonal — Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler.

Even before the first ball was kicked, the USA suffered a major loss during pre-game warm-ups when central midfielder Michael Bradley suffered a sprained left ankle that left him on the sidelines in crutches with a big ice bag over his ailing ankle. Geoff Cameron replaced the standout midfielder in the Starting XI and Bradley’s absence certainly hurt the U.S.’s composure and defensive structure in the early going.

In fact, the game got off to a rousing start for the hosts, who struck with the game only 119 seconds old.

About 30 seconds prior, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard swatted away Bryan Ruiz’s shot for a corner kick. On the ensuing kick, an in-swinger from Joel Campbell was sent into the area that Acosta headed past Howard into the left corner for a 1-0 lead. Acosta beat his man, Dempsey, as the ball deflected off left back DaMarcus Beasley.

Dempsey attempted the Americans’ first shot in the ninth minute on a 19-yard bicycle kick that was easily saved by goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Some 30 seconds later, Costa Rica wound up celebrating its second goal off a counterattack as Cristian Bolanos fed Borges, who headed the ball home for a 2-0 advantage in the ninth minute.

There was little doubt as to which team controlled much of the first half as the Costa Ricans constantly won first and second balls while the Americans had trouble clearing their half and get a decent attack going. The Ticos outshot the visitors in the opening 45 minutes, 10-4.

The U.S. tried to halve the lead in the 29th minute, but Navas slammed away Fabian Johnson’s 14-yard blast.

Six minutes later, Howard denied Campbell after the talented young striker got behind the U.S. defense to fire a point-blank shot that the keeper saved.

Navas, however, wasn’t perfect as he took down Johnson in the penalty area after Johnson fed his teammate with a quick, long free kick and referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez (Mexico) pointed to the penalty spot.

Dempsey, who was playing in his 100th international, took the penalty and he fired a shot into the middle of the goal that Navas got a hand on, but could not save as the U.S. sliced the lead to 2-1 in the 43rd minute.

It was Dempsey’s eighth qualifying goal during this cycle and 13th overall.

Dempsey came close on connecting for a second goal in the 56th minute as he ripped a shot off the left post.

As it turned out, the U.S. suffered two more losses in the second half. In the 62nd minute, Cameron was assessed a yellow card for fouling a Costa Rican player. It was his second of the hexagonal, which means he will miss Tuesday’s qualifier against Mexico in Columbus. Matthew Besler also was slapped with his second yellow card of the round late in the match, forcing him out of Tuesday’s encounter.

While trying to secure the equalizer, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made a pair of offensive substitutions in the second half, bringing on speedster Eddie Johnson for Graham Zusi in the 58th minute and striker Jozy Altidore for Johnson in the 71st minute.

The equalizer never came as the Ticos tallied an insurance goal in the 75th minute. Second-half sub Jose Miguel Cubero sent Campbell a through ball and the striker was off to the races, running past a pair of U.S. defenders before depositing the ball in the back of the net for a 3-1 advantage.

Costa Rica 4, U.S. 0 (Nov. 15, 2016)

The United States has endured and experienced more than its share of problems, headaches and struggles in Costa Rica over the years.

On Tuesday night, the Americans hit a new low, even for themselves.

They were thrashed by the Ticos, 4-0, at Estadio Nacional as the hosts struck three times during a 10-minute nightmarish span in the second half.

Second-half substitute Joel Campbell tallied twice and Johan Venegas and Christian Bolanos also scored for the Ticos, who never have lost a home qualifier to the Americans. They have a 0-9-1 mark here.

The Costa Ricans (2-0-0) moved atop the hexagonal with six points in the CONCACAF final round while the last-place Americans fell to 0-0-2. The four goals were the most surrendered by the USA in a qualifier since a 4-2 loss to Canada on October 13, 1968.

Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who performs for Real Madrid, did not have much work as he was credited with the shutout.

USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called the loss “a very, very bitter moment for us.”

“It’s definitely the defeat that hurts the most in my five years,” he added at a post-game press conference.”

Klinsmann wasn’t finished.

“It’s about taking it, swallowing it, taking responsibility — which I do — and finding a way to get that corrected,” Klinsmann said. “Now, unfortunately we have to wait a couple of months for that moment.”

The U.S. will have to wait four months for its next qualifier — against Honduras in a venue to be determined March 24.

“It is going to be a long couple of months,” Klinsmann said.

The Ticos broke through in the 44th minute. Midfielder Rándall Azofeifa started the sequence by changing the direction of the play with a long pass to Christian Bolanos in the left corner. With his marker, defender Omar Gonzalez, giving him some room, Bolanos lofted a cross into the box that Venegas headed home from six yards at the near post past goalkeeper Brad Guzan for a 1-0 advantage.

It was all Costa Rica in the second half, striking three times within a 10-minute span. The hosts took advantage of a USA turnover in the 68th minute as midfielder Bryan Ruiz raced down the right flank to find Bolanos, who headed the ball home from six yards.

Campbell, who replaced Venegas in the 67th minute, took center stage in the 77th minute, as he latched onto a loose ball and scored from 10 yards for a three-goal advantage.

Defender Ronald Matarrita sent a ball over the USA defense to Campbell, who slotted the ball past Guzan in the 78th minute to close out the rout.

Guzan was spectacular, making several big saves to keep the USA within striking distance, particularly in the first half.

“We’re going to have to look collectively real hard in the mirror at ourselves and understand it’s not been a good start,” captain and midfielder Michael Bradley was quoted by the BBC.

“At moments like this it does you no good to point fingers and to be looking around trying to figure out who you can throw under the bus.”

The game was costly to the Americans for another reason. Defender Timothy Chandler and midfielder Jermaine Jones accrued their second yellow cards of the hexagonal. They both must sit out the USA’s next game at home against Honduras on March 24.

Klinsmann was fired shortly thereafter.