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US looks to avoid last-day flop

2022 Mar 30, 7:23, San Jose
United States' players attend a training session ahead of a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, against Costa Rica, in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Photo)

American soccer’s harrowing memory of the loss in Trinidad 4 1/2 years ago remains omnipresent, if no longer raw.

Denied a berth in the 2018 World Cup by a 2-1 defeat to an already-eliminated opponent, U.S. players try not to think about the fact they will qualify for this year’s tournament as long as they don’t lose to Costa Rica by six goals or more in Wednesday night’s qualifying finale.

“The guys have told us, that have been here and through this path before, that we thought we qualified last World Cup,” midfielder Tyler Adams said Tuesday. “The fans thought we did, as well. But we hadn’t when we realized our game was finished and we lost.”

Just four players remain from the American roster that left tears on the field on Couva: Christian Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola.

“I know this and Christian, too, better than anyone: It’s not over until it’s over. We can’t be too complacent. We can’t be too relaxed. We’ve still got a job to do,” Yedlin said. “Obviously, we’re in a good situation and we know that. but I think going into the Trinidad game, we thought we were in a good situation, as well.”


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