U.S. grabs late draw to win CONCACAF group

Jonathan Bornstein

At about 10 p.m., everything was pretty quiet in Four Oaks.

In a town with as many cows as people, that’s often the case.

But all of a sudden, a yell went up in the darkness. A shout of pure joy that raised goosebumps on the yeller and the cows in the neighboring pasture.

The shout was from me, and I did it outside so my wife wouldn’t think I’d gone completely nuts.

Shouldn’t have bothered, but that’s an entry for another day.

Jonathan Bornstein’s header in the 95th minute gave 10-man U.S.A. a 2-2 draw at RFK Stadium against Costa Rica. It was an unlikely goal from an unlikely source, and at about the time my yell went up, other things were happening:

1. I’ve never been to Tegucigalpa, or any other city in Honduras. But they’re dancing in the streets there tonight. The U.S. rally, coupled with Carlos Pavon’s winner against El Salvador, pushed Honduras into the World Cup next summer. How excited were they in La Ceiba, for example? Click here to see.

2. I’ve never been to Mexico City, or any other city in Mexico. But they’re probably a tad annoyed tonight. All they needed to win the group tonight was a win at Trinidad and Tobago. Instead, they settled for a 2-2 draw. They’re going to the World Cup, where I will cheer for them like crazy. Unless, of course, they happen to be playing the Americans.

3. I’ve never been to San Jose, or any other city in Costa Rica. But they’re absolutely crushed tonight. The Ticos played great and Bryan Ruiz was the best player on the pitch for most of the night, scoring a pair of first-half goals to put Costa Rica on track for its first win on American soil in almost a quarter century.

But after grabbing that 2-0 lead, Costa Rica fell into the classic trap of waiting for the final whistle – instead of playing through it. And after Michael Bradley’s poacher goal (read: lucky) in the 71st minute, the Ticos got even tighter. Their coach, Rene Simoe, and half of the Costa Rican staff got ejected in the 88th minute, adding at least two minutes to the stoppage time total.

And the U.S. needed every second. When Bornstein’s header bulged the back of the net, Costa Rica left the express lane to South Africa and set off on a massive detour. The Ticos now face a home-and-home series with Uruguay on Nov. 14 and 18.

It’s not impossible. Costa Rica is 39th in the latest FIFA world rankings while Uruguay is 28th. But the Ticos better get a result at the Saprissa on the 14th, because they’ll struggle to get anything in Montevideo four days later. 

With the deadly car accident that sidelined striker Charlie Davies and the fact that center back Oguchi Onyewu went down with a knee injury in the final minutes, Bornstein’s header from a wicked corner from Jose Torres was a nice ending to an emotional few days for the red, white and blue.

For the United States, Mexico and Honduras, the 16-month endurance race for a spot in the World Cup has ended in glory.

Costa Rica will spend the next month thinking about how it was 30 seconds away from punching a ticket.

Such is the beauty, glory and pain of the beautiful game.

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4 Responses to “U.S. grabs late draw to win CONCACAF group”

  1. Jumanji(TS) Says:

    Hey Randy,

    Although the United states started a little slow, but i like their win because it doesn’t make the U.S look bad. I hope Charlie Davies will come back soon before World Cup.
    I love your blog and i hope you are coming to see the Terry Sanford play Jack Britt on Wednesday. Its going to be a good game.

  2. Brian Says:

    Dont’t get in the hibernation mode!! Just kidding, this weather can make one feel that way, but personally, I like the much cooler temps!!!

    Sounds like the local private schools had a good battle, Village pulled out on top! Congrats to both teams for a great performance!

  3. Randy Capps Says:

    No hibernating just yet. Planning to catch Britt/T.S. On Wednesday. Always fun to visit Bulldog country…

  4. Randy Capps Says:

    And thanks for the kind words, Jumanji.

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