SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Alvaro Saborio scored 79 seconds in, the second-fastest goal against the United States in a World Cup qualifier, and Costa Rica cruised to a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.
Celso Borges added a goal in the 13th minute, and Pablo Herrera sealed the victory for 41st-ranked Costa Rica when he made it 3-0 in the 69th.
Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time for the U.S.
It was a tough start to a difficult three-match stretch of qualifying for the No. 14 Americans, who dropped to 0-7-1 in qualifying at Costa Rica.
The Americans come home to Chicago, where they’ll host Honduras on Saturday. The United States is 15-0-1 at home since the 3-2 defeat to Honduras at Washington’s RFK Stadium in September 2001. Then, on Aug. 12, the Americans play at Mexico, where they are 0-22-1.
Former Gonzaga and Seattle Sounders star Brian Ching sat out with a hamstring injury and Jozy Altidore started at forward
Still, the United States remains in good position to qualify for its sixth consecutive World Cup as long as it wins its remaining home matches against El Salvador (Sept. 5 at Sandy, Utah) and Costa Rica (Oct. 14 at Washington).
Costa Rica (3-1) leapfrogged into first place in the six-team regional finals of North and Central America and the Caribbean with nine points, two ahead of the U.S.(2-1-1). Honduras (1-1-1) has four points, followed by Mexico (1-2) with three, and El Salvador (0-1-2) and Trinidad and Tobago (0-1-2) with two each. The top three qualify for the World Cup