Dustin Bradford

USA vs. Costa Rica, 2014 World Cup qualifying: USMNT win 1-0 in a blizzard

No one expected a complete crapshoot of a game in a snowstorm on Friday night, but the United States rose to the occasion and defeated Costa Rica in a game that could have easily been called off before it got started.

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11 Total Updates since March 22, 2013
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FIFA to Costa Rica: Denied!

Costa Rica's slim hopes of over-turning the USA's 1-0 victory ended today with the announcement that FIFA has denied their appeal on the match due to the snowy conditions.

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Costa Rican FA plans to protest USA game

A team has 24 hours after a match to protest the game to FIFA, and it appears that Costa Rica will do just that after their loss to the United States.

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Soccer in a blizzard? Instant #snowfro

Behold the glory. Bask in the resplendence.

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USMNT win in a blizzard

An argument can be made that the United States and Costa Rica never should have played on Friday night, but everyone should be thrilled that the referee allowed their World Cup qualifier to go on.

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Game stopped and resumed quickly

Update: Final score - USA 1-0 Costa Rica, match report.

As the conditions get worse in Denver, the referee is struggling to make a decision about whether or not the United States and Costa Rica can finish their World Cup qualifier. With the U.S. up 1-0 in the 55th minute, the referee opted to stop play, and the lines were cleared off.

Let's just say that it's easy to see why the referee has considered stopping this one on multiple occasions.

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There appeared to be a discussion between the officials and the match commissioner about whether or not to stop the game, but play has resumed. It's tough to blame the referee for considering calling the game off, but it's tough to figure out why the referee opted to start the second half if he's considering calling this one off.

It's not entirely clear what will happen if the game cannot be completed. Normal procedure is to replay a game from the start, with any goals wiped off the board if it has to be abandoned. However, Ian Darke stated on the ESPN broadcast that U.S. Soccer and the match commissioner indicated that the game could resume tomorrow from the point it was stopped.

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USA lead 1-0 at halftime

The United States lead Costa Rica at halftime. Hopefully for them, that goal isn't erased.

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Clint Dempsey has USMNT on the board

Update: Final score - USA 1-0 Costa Rica, match report.

It took 15 minutes, but someone finally figured out how to play in the snow. After a lot of indirect play, passes on the ground, back-passes and more, the United States decided to start kicking the ball in the general direction of the goal, hoping for good things to happen. This is generally good strategy in ice hockey, and this is essentially an ice hockey game. It led to Clint Dempsey netting an opener against Costa Rica.

Jozy Altidore tried the initial hopeful shot for the United States, hitting Costa Rican defender Roy Miller in the process. The ball skidded across the face of goal towards Dempsey, who was in the perfect position to smash the ball into the back of the net.

Costa Rica probably thought that they could play for a draw before they knew they'd be playing on snow, and they set out to play that way even in the poor weather conditions. Now, they're going to have to alter their gameplan.

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USA vs. Costa Rica: Game underway

Update: Final score - USA 1-0 Costa Rica, match report.

If you haven't heard or are unable to watch, the United States and Costa Rica are playing in a snowstorm. It's not quite "blizzard" conditions, but the snow is accumulating at Dick's Sporting Goods Park just outside of Denver, and the grounds crew didn't have the easiest of times getting the surface playable before kickoff. They didn't clear the entire pitch, and it'll actually be a bit surprising if the touchlines are still visible in 45 minutes.

Also, the USMNT are wearing white shirts. They couldn't have known that there would be blowing snow during their match when they decided to wear these months ago, but ... uhh ... maybe an alternate was in order? Surely a quick change of plans was possible.

One other thing worth considering as this one gets going: Jurgen Klinsmann's teams haven't been very direct. They like to keep the ball on the ground. Bob Bradley's USMNT certainly would have had an advantage over anyone in the snow, but Klinsmann's team? Well, this isn't exactly their game. It'll be interesting to see how they adjust.

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USA vs. Costa Rica: Lineups

Update: Final score - USA 1-0 Costa Rica, match report.

The United States are playing an attacking lineup against Costa Rica, with Jurgen Klinsmann well aware of the fact that his team need three points ahead of their trip to the Azteca. With a minimal amount of healthy defenders available to him, he's starting veteran left midfielder DaMarcus Beasley at left back. The formation of the team isn't clear, but it's also not terribly important. It looks like a 4-2-3-1 at first glance, but Klinsmann's U.S. team's style is never dependent on formation.

Alvaro Saborio, who was previously rumored to be injured, starts up top for Costa Rica. They're also starting Roy Miller at left back, which should be music to the ears of Graham Zusi and Geoff Cameron.

United States lineup (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan; DaMarcus Beasley, Clarence Goodson, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron; Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley; Herculez Gomez, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi; Jozy Altidore

Costa Rica lineup (4-4-1-1): Keylor Navas; Roy Miller, Giancarlo González, Cristian Gamboa, Michael Umaña; Bryan Oviedo, Michael Barrantes, Ariel Rodríguez, Bryan Ruiz; Cristian Bolaños; Alvaro Saborio

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More in Soccer:

Covering all of UEFA’s World Cup Qualifying action

Argentina without stars in CONMEBOL qualifying

Setting aside reality: A Yugoslav dream team

Atleti vs. Real: The most important race for second place

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USMNT in near must-win situation

The United States are already in a virtual must-win situation just one game into the final round of World Cup qualifying. With no points likely at Estadio Azteca, the USMNT needs three against Costa Rica on Friday.

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Massive games for everyone in CONCACAF

Every team in CONCACAF is feeling some pressure after just one game of World Cup qualifying. The United States have a must-win, Jamaica and Panama know they need points against each other, and the best game of the round is in Honduras.

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