Timothy Weh was declared the winner as the United States came from behind to beat Costa Rica 2-1 and resume their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign on Wednesday.
Weh, who plays for French champions Lille, was drafted into the US starting line-up shortly before the kick-off after DC United’s Chris Areola was injured in the warm-up.
The 21-year-old son of Liberian football icon George Weh played a key role in the American goal, passing from Barcelona wing back Sergino Dest and taking a shot towards the post near Costa Rica goalkeeper Lionel Morera.
Weh’s effort stopped the woodwork and in the 66th minute he caught Moreira and the net for his goal.
He completed a well-earned comeback for US coach Greg Berhlter’s youth team, recovering from a 25-minute deficit in the first minute before Dest’s equalizer.
The win in Columbus, Ohio gave the United States 11 points from six matches, three behind Mexico after El Tree’s 2-0 victory in El Slidor.
“The team dug in and got stuck together and I was very happy with the performance after conceding the first minute goal,” said US captain Tyler Adams.
The United States suffered a 1-0 defeat to Panama on Sunday, when Berhlter was criticized for making seven changes to the team that beat Jamaica last week.
Against Costa Rica on Wednesday, Berhlter returned to the center of the team that left Jamaica aside, made 10 changes, and made his team look more dangerous and dynamic.
The lineup was also the youngest American team to start a World Cup qualifying match, with an average age of 22 years and 229 days.
But the Americans were soon frightened when a quick counter-attack from Costa Rica saw Ronald Matarita beat Duster on the left before he could cross the far post for a house with fillers.
However, the blow sent shockwaves through the United States, which dominated the occupation for a long time before reaching the middle ground halfway through.
He broke the left and played a deep cross that found Jonah Moses on the reverse side. The Valencia midfielder left Dest, who fired a left-footed shot into the top corner of Costa Rica keeper Keller Nawas and fired a rifle.
When the United States hosts Mexico on November 12, the United States will work to consolidate that victory.
Mexico maintained their lead in the eight-nation final qualifying group, with both teams losing 10 men in the second half to beat El Salvador.
Mexican center-back Hector Moreno headed in a corner kick in the 30th minute.
Raul Jimenez sealed the victory with a penalty in the second half.
Canada finished third with 10 points in a 4-1 victory over Panama in Toronto, thanks to a brilliant 66th minute strike by Alfonso Davis.
The Bayern Munich star put Canada ahead when he stepped down from the right and overcame a ball that went over the boundary.
He sidelined defender Fidel Escobar and gave Panama goalkeeper Louis Mejia a low shot to give Canada a 2-1 lead.
Panama took the lead in the fifth minute through Rolando Blackburn.
The hosts equalized in the 28th when Davis’ corner kick was headed towards the goal by Tajon Buchanan, which removed the body of Panama’s Michael Merillo, who scored a goal himself.
Buchanan added a goal in the 71st minute and Jonathan David scored in the 78th minute.
Jamaica won their first campaign victory – a 2-0 victory over Honduras in San Pedro Sola.