The USA (pictured) looks to defend a corner kick during a World Cup qualifier against host Costa Rica on November 15, 2016, in San Jose. (Photo: John Dorton/isiphotos.com)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- After his team succumbed to its worst World Cup Qualifying result in more than three decades, United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann did not mince words.
Klinsmann called Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to host Costa Rica "the defeat that hurts most" of his five-year tenure.
"A very, very bitter moment for us," he added. "There's no doubt about it."
Very little went well for the Americans, who began the opening two matches of the Hexagonal without a victory for the first-ever time. It was the most allowed by the U.S. in a WCQ since a 5-1 loss to Mexico in Mexico City on November 9, 1980.
"We're going to have to look collectively real hard in the mirror at ourselves and understand it's not been a good start," remarked captain and midfielder Michael Bradley, whose team fell to 0W-1D-9L in qualifiers at Costa Rica. "At moments like this, it does you no good to point fingers and to be looking around trying to figure out who you can throw under the bus."
The Americans find themselves at the bottom of the table with a 0-0-2 mark and a goal difference of minus five. They dropped their final round opener on Friday to visiting Mexico, 2-1, snapping their "dos a cero" victory streak in Columbus, Ohio, at four games.
There are four months to think about what went wrong and how to regroup.
“It’s about taking it, swallowing it, taking responsibility — which I do — and finding a way to get that corrected,” Klinsmann finished. “Now, unfortunately we have to wait a couple of months for that moment. It is going to be a long couple of months.”
The U.S. returns to WCQ action on March 24, when it hosts Honduras at a venue to be determined.