Tim Weah was purported to spend most of his Wednesday night in Columbus sitting on a bench.
He wasn’t supposed to start out the U.S. males’s nationwide workforce’s pivotal World Cup qualifier in opposition to Costa Rica. Till “actually 5 minutes” earlier than it, he did not know he would. When he did, as an harm alternative, he was purported to exit after an hour of taxing labor. Reinforcements had been ready. Weah noticed them. And in line with eager observers on website, he seemed “cooked.”
However then, with the USMNT struggling to interrupt a 1-1 tie, and with alternative waning, Weah burst into the penalty field. He barely even glanced at aim. And he fired the U.S. to the highest of North and Central America’s qualifying desk with a textbook end.
Technically, it’s going to go down as an personal aim. And on paper, Weah’s whirlwind of a Wednesday night time will look comparatively mundane. He performed 73 minutes. He did not rating. He exited to well mannered applause, one among many contributors to a vital 2-1 U.S. victory. Sergiño Dest was the unique star. Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah have been important. Weah’s efficiency was robust however unspectacular.
However beneath these circumstances, it was outstanding. The 21-year-old from New York did not even know when he’d get on the sector. He solely came upon he’d begin when Paul Arriola, penciled in as the appropriate winger, pulled out of warmups with a groin harm. U.S. Soccer introduced the late change 13 minutes earlier than gametime. Weah changed Arriola on quick discover, maybe unprepared for a 90-minute battle.
And certainly, early within the second half, he appeared to be struggling. If his night time had ended there, across the sixty fifth minute, it might have mirrored his younger profession, stuffed with promise however twists and turns, accidents, roadblocks to stardom. As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, he hadn’t but scored a significant USMNT aim.
However then, within the 66th minute, he pounced on Sergiño Dest’s intelligent move. He saved his head down, his eyes drilling into the ball, the again of the online in his peripheral imaginative and prescient. He discovered it, and accomplished the USMNT’s second essential comeback in as many months.
The night had begun ominously. Smoke from pregame fireworks hadn’t even cleared. A frightening tifo nonetheless lingered when, 59 seconds into the match, Costa Rica struck. Bryan Ruiz, the longtime Ticos wizard, unlocked the U.S. proper aspect with an creative back-heel. Ronald Matarrita beat Dest down the road. Matarrita’s cross discovered its approach to an unmarked Keysher Fuller on the again put up.
Fuller’s volley was tame. However Zack Steffen, a mildly controversial alternative to start out over Matt Turner, appeared to be delay by Costa Rican striker Jonathan Moya, who was proper in his lap.
And Moya wasn’t offside, as a result of again the place the cross got here from, Dest was all the best way off the pitch, holding each Costa Ric.
Dest, although, would quickly redeem himself. On the finish of a 13-pass transfer, he danced inside onto his non-dominant left foot and despatched a thunderbolt into the highest nook to stage the rating at one.
And never solely did he do it together with his left foot, but in addition with an untied left shoe.
The U.S. bossed a lot of the sport. Both aspect of halftime, it pressed and pressed for a winner. Weah, by way of a put up and a goalkeeper’s again, snatched it. And as soon as once more, three days after a dismal show, despatched a fan base right into a panic, the USMNT is again on observe to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.