HARRISON, N.J. (AP) _ Tim Howard made his first appearance in goal for the United States in 15 months and was unable to stop the Americans’ slide.
Joel Campbell scored in the 70th minute, and Costa Rica beat the listless U.S. 1-0 in an exhibition Tuesday night.
Three days after a 3-2 loss to Mexico in a playoff for the region’s Confederations Cup berth, the U.S. generated few scoring chances in the latest of a string of dismal performances this year that have led to criticism of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who sent defender Fabian Johnson home for asking to be substituted late in Saturday’s defeat.
The Americans finished fourth at this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, their poorest performance since 2000, and are a team in transition as they head into the start of World Cup qualifying.
Howard took a one-year sabbatical from the national team after making 15 saves in the 2-1 round-of-16 loss to Belgium at last year’s World Cup. When Howard returned last month, Klinsmann installed him as his No. 2 behind Brad Guzan. Howard sat on the bench for a pair of September exhibitions and for Saturday’s extra-time defeat at the Rose Bowl.
Before a crowd of just 9,214 in almost two-thirds empty Red Bulls Arena, the Americans struggled defensively after second-half substitutions.
Jonathan Spector turned the ball over, leading to the goal. Dave Myrie, who had just entered, crossed for Campbell, and the forward beat Danny Williams into space and sent a 12-yard, left-footed shot just past Howard’s outstretched right arm into the far corner of the goal. Campbell, who has struggled for playing time at Arsenal, scored his 11th international goal but first since Costa Rica played Uruguay in last year’s World Cup.
Nine players returned to their teams following Saturday’s defeat, including starters DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Fabian Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey. Klinsmann said Monday he was angry with Johnson and sent him home because the defender asked to be substituted in the 111th minute Saturday.
Klinsmann kept only three starters from Saturday: central defender Geoff Cameron, midfielder Jermaine Jones and forward Jozy Altidore. All three were replaced at the start of the second half.
Costa Rica had several earlier chances. Brad Evans made a block to deny Johan Venegas with Howard’s net open in the 43rd minute. Then in the 47th, a Campbell pass bounced past defender Michael Orozco to Marcos Urena, and Ventura Alvarado came over to interfere with the forward as Howard slid out.
Williams lost possession in the 59th minute, and Campbell dribbled in and took a 25-yard shot that Howard jumped to tip over the crossbar with his right hand. Venegas was just wide when he redirected a cross to Howard’s far post in the 49th.
Howard made an excellent sliding stop on Urena in the 88th.