HARRISON, N.J. (AP) - The United States put its hopes of an eighth straight World Cup berth in peril, giving up a pair of goals to Marco Urena in a 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Friday night that brought the Americans' resurgence under coach Bruce Arena to a crashing thud.
Urena spun around defender Tim Ream, then caught Tim Howard leaning and beat the goalkeeper to the far post in the 31st minute. Urena, the lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation, doubled the lead in the 82nd with a shot from 18 yards after David Guzman intercepted a poor pass by Geoff Cameron.
The Americans have lost two home games in a World Cup cycle for the first time since 1957 and likely will need points on the road to reach next year's tournament in Russia.
This loss snaps the United States' unbeaten streak of 17 competitive home games vs. Costa Rica. The Americans' only previous home loss was in a 1985 World Cup qualifier.
The United States plays its next qualifier on Tuesday away to Honduras in desperate need of a win. Costa Rica will host Mexico on the same day.
The U.S. has had its share of success in Honduras, winning World Cup qualifiers on three previous occasions, the most recent being 2009. But the U.S. will no doubt be made to suffer in the afternoon heat, something it didn't cope with well at all in a 2-1 defeat four years ago.
To be clear, the loss to the Ticos is by no means fatal. Panama, who appear to be the Americans' most direct competitor for the third and final automatic qualification spot, play later on Friday. The Americans' qualifying fate may come down to a home match against the Canaleros next month. That will be a pressure-packed match, but finding a way to get a result against Honduras would certainly simplify the U.S. team's qualifying task.