Columbus Crew's Jairo Arrieta says Costa Rica wanted to abandon qualifier vs. USA twice
OBETZ, Ohio – Jairo Arrieta is pleased with where the Costa Rican national team stands after three games of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Hexagonal, but he is disappointed in many ways with last Friday's memorable loss to the USA in blizzard-like conditions in Colorado.
The Crew forward returned to training on Thursday with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-40s, a vast improvement over the conditions for the match in Commerce City, Colo., won by the Americans 1-0.
That Costa Rica (1-1-1) rebounded to beat visiting Jamaica 2-0 on Tuesday to claim second place in the Hex on goal differential over the USMNT – Panama lead with five points – only took away some of the sting.
WATCH: USA-Costa Rica from field level
"We are in a good spot right now," Arrieta told reporters through a Crew team translator. "We were not expecting to lose to the United States. We believed with a normal field we could beat the United States here or at least get a point, but when the conditions were like they were it was almost impossible to play."
Arrieta, who did not play in either qualifier, said he wore layers on the bench during the match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, but his feet still felt frozen.
"The team did everything they could to try and overcome that difficult situation," he said. "We did a good job, but unfortunately we didn't get the three points we wanted."
At one point early in the second half, the match was stopped for a discussion on the field conditions.
The Hex: USA vs. Costa Rica behind-the-scenes
"At the beginning of the game, the conditions were OK. It was cold, but the field was playable," Arrieta said. "After 30 minutes the field was too tough to play, a lot of snow. I believed by then the game should have been postponed.
"At halftime, we decided not to come out and play because the conditions were worse," he added. "Then when the referee stopped the game in the 60th minute we wanted to leave, but it wasn't in our hands. It was the referee's decision and he decided to finish, so we had to finish the game."
Arrieta's focus is now on helping Columbus and getting another call-up for the qualifiers in June and this summer's Gold Cup.
"It's an honor to play for my national team, but the only way I can play for the national team is my performance here with the Crew," he said. "That's the way it's supposed to be."