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Costa Rica protests loss to U.S

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Costa Rica believes it was a snow job.

The U.S. men's national soccer team believes it was a hard-fought victory.

Now it's up to FIFA to decide whether the U.S. squad's 1-0 win on Friday in snowy Commerce City, Colo., will have to be replayed.

The Costa Rica soccer federation announced that it officially filed a protest about Friday's game, saying the blizzard conditions made the field unplayable. The U.S. team got a 16th-minute goal from captain Clint Dempsey, then held on for a critical win in regional qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Costa Rica's protest states that the ball couldn't be moved accurately due to the snow accumulation, which forced groundskeepers to shovel the boundary lines numerous times during play.

The referee stopped play early in the second half amid speculation the match would be abandoned, but players on both sides appeared to argue for the game to continue. The forecast in the Denver area called for more snow into the next day.

Should the protest be denied, the U.S. team would remain in second place in the six-team CONCACAF qualifying group. The top three teams earn automatic places in the 2014 World Cup, while the fourth-place team will play a two-leg playoff against Oceania champion New Zealand for another spot.

The U.S. team plays Tuesday against Mexico in Mexico City, but the Americans will be missing a key man in their midfield. Jermaine Jones sprained his left ankle in Friday's game, and he returned to Germany to seek treatment with his club side, Schalke 04.
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