Welp. The USMNT put on an absolutely abject display last night in New Jersey, losing to Costa Rica 2-0 on merit. The Ticos were organized defensively and the U.S. were unable to break them down. Neither Bobby Wood nor Jozy Altidore were effective moving the defense, and they couldn’t find space in the final third. It didn’t help that Christian Pulisic had perhaps his worst game in a national team shirt. Costa Rica was physical with him, and he gave the ball away multiple times, which is very unusual.
At the back, playing with only Michael Bradley as a holding mid-fielder was a mistake, as the slow and mostly second choice back line was exposed. Several sloppy passes from Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream didn’t help, and some shoddy defending allowed Costa Rica to get behind on several occasions.
This was a poor performance that puts the U.S. in precarious position to qualify for Russia. They now desperately need a result in Honduras on Tuesday. Their final set of games will be home to Panama and at Trinidad & Tobago, so they still can manage. Seven points from the three remaining games will likely be enough to see them through.
In Eurobasket action, some games to watch today:
Group A: Greece vs. France. 8:30 am CDT
Finland vs. Slovenia. Markkenen vs. Doncic! Noon CDT.
Group B: Israel vs. Lithuania. 1:30 pm CDT
Group C: Czech Republic vs. Spain. 9:45 am CDT
Group D: Russia vs. Serbia. 9:00 am CDT
As Neil recapped, the Lynx won last night, and now have one regular season game remaining, on Tuesday. A win in that game will mean the top seed in the playoffs, while a loss and a Sparks win in their finale will leave the Lynx in the second spot.
Both teams have earned byes through the first two rounds of the playoffs and into the semifinals. It’s shaping up very much like a rematch of last season’s Finals is likely.
In other Lynx news, the team announced that Sylvia Fowles has signed a multi-year extension with the club, meaning she’ll be dominating the paint for the Lynx for the next few years. When you have Maya Moore and Fowles, you are going to be a competitive club, so that’s good news.
Have a Saturday.