COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tim Weah scored on a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper in the 66th minute after Sergiņo Dest started the comeback from a first-minute deficit, and the United States rallied past Costa Rica 2-1 on Wednesday night to ease pressure as World Cup qualifying neared the halfway point.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, one of nine new starters inserted by coach Gregg Berhalter following Sunday's dismal 1-0 loss at Panama, made a costly headed clearance that led to Keysher Fuller's goal 60 seconds in, the fastest goal conceded by the U.S. in 23 years.
Dest, another new starter by his rotation-emphasizing coach, tied it in the 25th minute when he curled a shot past Keylor Navas.
“I was like, I have to shoot it,” Dest said. “I was just so happy. We needed that goal.”
Navas, one of the world's top goalkeepers, strained an adductor muscle and was replaced by Leonel Moreiera at the start of the second half.
Weah, a son of Liberia President and former FIFA Player of the Year George Weah, wasn't in the original starting lineup but was announced just before kickoff in place of Paul Arriola, who injured his groin. He scored when Weston McKennie passed to Dest, who dished to Weah. His 10-yard shot from an angle bounced off a diving Moreira and inside the near post.
Weah was originally credited with a goal, but it was changed to an own goal by Moreira.
The U.S. has 11 points after six of 14 matches, with its three toughest games ahead – at home against Mexico on Nov. 12 plus away matches at Mexico and Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, an aged team with a starting lineup that averaged more then 30 years old, has seven points. The Ticos had won their three previous qualifiers against the U.S., helping end a streak of seven straight American World Cup appearances.
A pro-American crowd of 20,165 attended the first international match at $300 million-plus Lower.com Field, which opened in July.
Berhalter retained only 18-year-old midfielder Yunus Musah and 21-year-old Weah from Sunday's starters.
Chris Richards, a 21-year-old central defender, was given his first competitive start as the Americans fielded their youngest lineup in a World Cup qualifier at an average of 22 years, 229 days. That lowered the 23 years, 85 days from the 4-1 win at Honduras on Sept. 8.