It was just their third home loss in qualifying since 1985 - and came 16 years to the day the USA and Arena lost 3-2 to Honduras at Washington's RFK Stadium. During one US attack in the 66th minute, he dove to the ground, then used an arm and leg to deflect a unsafe ball.
Urena made a quick lateral move to lose Ream then put a shot to the far post that eluded goalkeeper to Tim Howard to the loud approval of the large contingent of Costa Rican fans among the sellout crowd of more than 26,000.
We did not see that at Red Bull Arena. "We didn't make any plays that mattered. We were probably outplayed in most positions on the field and made some critical errors", Arena said. We didn't have a good night. Minus the injured Joel Campbell, the Ticos threw out their strongest possible XI, set up in their 5-4- 1 and set out to soak up attacking pressure, press and then pick the U.S. off on the counter, which they executed to perfection.
After Costa Rica won a header in midfield, Ruiz picked out Ureña and, with a succinct pass, split center backs Tim Ream and Geoff Cameron. A minute later, another awful pass by Cameron led to the second goal.
"We'll take a day to reflect on this and come up with a plan", Arena said. Arena wasn't ready to commit on immediate changes for Honduras, but said "clearly walking away tonight without any points is very disappointing".
Yes, Ream is an experienced veteran, but the level and quality of that experience - he's a regular starter for a good-but-not-great Championship side in Fulham that allows a lot of goals - doesn't really suggest that he should be playing regularly at this level, especially not paired with a defender like Cameron who has a similar skillset.
Costa Rica laid the thunder on the Americans for the second consecutive year, following the 4-0 drubbing back in November. I think he got a little frustrated.
New Zealand closed in on a World Cup qualifying playoff spot against the fifth-place South American team by beating the Solomon Islands 6-1 Friday in the opening match of a two-leg series. Both were chasing Mexico's 14, but Panama was looming with seven points in fourth with only the top three automatically qualifying.
The United States has three games remaining in qualifying, including a Tuesday encounter in Honduras.
But Arena didn't think his team was in any more peril than they were before Friday's defeat.
"It puts more pressure on us", Howard said, "but we're still right in the thick of it". "I think Costa Rica probably enjoys coming to NY". "We'll bounce back, forget about it and move forward". This is how you deal in competition and sports.
Of course, if the USA takes care of its own business it won't need to worry about what happens elsewhere. But now, he must get his team reenergized ahead of Tuesday's match against Honduras. In the team US, the players DeAndre Yedlin and John Brooks are not in the match and they are replaced by Omar Gonzalez by the coach. But the call didn't go the US' way, which set the tone for the rest of the night.
Cameroon wasn't the only big team left struggling in World Cup qualifying. He now has 13 career worldwide goals.