(ESPN) USMNT underwhelms vs. Costa Rica, but all eyes on World Cup now qualification assured

A raucous, celebratory atmosphere inside the Costa Rica National Stadium dictated the mood. Los Ticos had just finished off a 2-0 win to remain undefeated all time against the United States men’s national soccer team in San Jose. There were even fireworks, despite the fact the home side failed to claim an automatic place at Qatar 2022, setting up a playoff versus New Zealand instead.

For an exhausted U.S. squad that had been looking to make history, the whole thing was disorienting. With 35,000 opposing fans so happy, it was instinctual to mirror their level of emotion in the opposite direction. But a slow walk back to the locker room and a few words from coach Gregg Berhalter returned the team to reality: It had qualified for the World Cup.

“Obviously, as competitors, we hate losing. But coming into the locker room, I think everyone just decided, ‘You know what, we realized our goal,’ which was to qualify,” said center back Walker Zimmerman, who captained the team Wednesday night. “So, everyone forgot about tonight. We put ourselves in a position where we could afford to do that.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Men, Sports