Last Second Goal Helps U.S. Tie Costa Rica 2-2

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

WASHINGTON (AP) -- American players wanted to win for Charlie. They didn't, but it sure felt like a victory when the United States scored with just seconds remaining in its final World Cup qualifier.

After Jonathan Bornstein's goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time gave the United States a 2-2 tie against Costa Rica on Wednesday night, players took a victory lap. They carried a banner with the No. 9, the jersey number of Charlie Davies, their teammate who is hospitalized with serious injuries from an automobile accident.

"We used Charlie's situation to motivate us," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "We're happy he was alive, and that in itself gave us a lift. Charlie would give anything at this moment to put on a jersey and have it all back. You almost kind of feel lucky and privileged, and that was kind of motivation to us."

With the Americans trailing 2-0, Michael Bradley put in a rebound in the 72nd minute. With Costa Rica just 20 seconds or so from getting the win it needed to qualify -- and with the United States playing a man short after losing defender Oguchi Onyewu to a torn tendon in his left knee -- Bornstein headed in a corner kick from second-half substitute Robbie Rogers from about 7 yards.

"I don't normally go up for corner kicks. Usually I stay back," Bornstein said. "But for that one, I was like, `I'm getting in there. This is a last-shot effort.' He put in a good ball and I found myself wide open."

Onyewu fell down on the slick turf and was diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon, an injury that usually requires a recovery time of three to four months. Because the U.S. had used its three substitutes, he couldn't be replaced.

Onyewu's injury came a day after Davies' accident, which left the 23-year-old forward with several broken bones and likely will keep him out for the World Cup next year.

"We've had two days of tough news," coach Bob Bradley said.

Mixed in with the bad was the good that happened on the field. The United States (6-2-2), which clinched a berth last weekend, topped North and Central America and the Caribbean for the second straight qualifying cycle by finishing one point ahead of Mexico (6-3-1), which tied 2-2 at last-place Trinidad and Tobago.

Honduras (5-4-1) won 1-0 at El Salvador and qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1982, finishing ahead of Costa Rica (5-4-1) on goal difference, plus-2 to even.

The Ticos started the final round 4-1 but went just 1-3-1 in the second half. They face a two-match playoff against Uruguay, hosting the first leg Nov. 14 before playing in South America four days later.

"Give us a day to recover from this before we start thinking about Uruguay," new Costa Rica coach Rene Simoes said.

Simoes was ejected in the 88th minute after arguing with officials and faces a possible suspension by FIFA from one or both games against Uruguay. He said the ejection arose from a dispute over a substitution, but he also acknowledged being in a grouchy mood for much of the match. He said he told the officials at halftime: "You never blow your whistle."

"And I don't know what happened in the second half, we never received a foul," Simoes said.

Bryan Ruiz beat Howard in the 21st and 24th minutes, and it appeared Costa Rica would send the United States to only its second home loss in qualifying since the Ticos beat the United States in 1985. Red, white and blue flags -- the ones without the stars in the upper-left corner -- were waved in triumph all over the upper deck of RFK Stadium.

Davies, projected to be a starter at the World Cup, broke two bones in his right leg and one in his left elbow and sustained a lacerated bladder and facial fractures in the one-vehicle accident early Tuesday. He will be hospitalized for at least a week and is expected to take six to 12 months to recover.

Davies was remembered by the American fans in the lower bowl of RFK, who held up white cards with a black No. 9 during the ninth minute of the game. Other fans waved large banners that read "Get Well Charlie" and "(heart) CD."

Jozy Altidore, who started in place of Davies, wore his teammate's number under his own No. 17. Altidore received a yellow card early in the game and had to be reminded by Bradley not to lift his jersey in any kind of celebration -- because that would yield a second yellow card and an automatic suspension for the U.S. World Cup opener in June.

After the game, Altidore sent his No. 9 shirt to Davies at the hospital.

"Charlie is like a brother to me, so it was really tough news for me to hear," Altidore said. "We all wanted to try and go out and play for him tonight. I think the energy was there for a lot of guys. We were a little bit unlucky at times. I know myself, I was a little excited. I had the shirt on underneath, I wanted to show it to him badly. I caught myself getting too excited with a couple of chances, but I'm glad the game ended the way it did."


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