'Unimpressive' U.S. Faces Costa Rica

Dan Giesen
Date Published: 
San Francisco Chronicle

The American National team, which is in the midst of qualifying for a berth in next year's World Cup Tournament in Mexico, didn't do much for its reputation recently.

After the U.S. edged Trinidad and Tobago last Sunday, 1-0, in Los Angeles and eliminated the tiny Caribbean country from future Cup consideration, T&T coach Roderick Warner had this to say about the American side:

"I was not particularly impressed by the USA. Please respect my frankness, but they are not World Cup material.''

In what the L.A. Times called the "Original Amateur Hour-and-a-Half,'' the U.S. team blew many good scoring chances, didn't finish up on its attacks and played an "indifferent'' game. Only Paul Caligiuri's header in the 15th minute kept the game from ending in a scoreless tie.

However, the two victories over Trinidad and Tobago - the Americans won the opener, 2-1, May 15 in St. Louis - gives the U.S. four points going into its home-and-home series against Costa Rica, which managed a win and a tie against T&T for three points.

All the Americans have to do to gain the next - and final - qualifying round with Honduras and Canada is win one game with the Costa Ricans. The opening match is tomorrow (10 a.m. PDT) in San Jose, Costa Rica, with the second game next Friday in Los Angeles. Both games will be televised live by SIN, the Spanish-speaking network (Channel 14 in the Bay Area).