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"Once a Goat" at the World Cup: Michael Umaña hits clinching penalty kick to send Costa Rica to quarterfinals

The former Chivas USA defender was ready for his close-up.

Umaña taking the decisive kick Sunday.
Umaña taking the decisive kick Sunday.
Ian Walton

Costa Rica must be rocking on Sunday, as their national team, in the Round of 16 at the World Cup for just the second time in their history, broke new ground in beating Greece in a penalty shootout 5-3 after going 1-1 through 120 minutes.

Though Bryan Ruiz put the Ticos ahead in the 52nd minute, Oscar Duarte picked up a second yellow card in the 66th minute, and Costa Rica ended up playing nearly half of the playing time down a man. And Greece thought they had pulled out some more last second magic in this game, when defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored off a rebound in the 91st minute, sending the game to 30 minutes of extra time.

But the Ticos, who advanced to the knockout stage for the first time since their first World Cup, in 1990, prevailed in the shootout, as goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved Theofanis Gekas' attempt, and a familiar face clinched Costa Rica's place in the quarterfinals on the following kick.

That's right, former Chivas USA defender Michael Umana, who sat out the Ticos' final group stage game against England, was back in the lineup against Greece, and converted the fifth and final PK to send the Central Americans through. It capped off another strong performance for Umaña, whose only main demerit on the day was that he didn't body up Gekas quite enough on the initial shot attempt leading to Papastathopoulos' goal. But he wrote himself into Costa Rican lore with his clincher, so I'm sure nobody's worried about that at the moment.

Here's video of the successful PK:

By playing the full match, Umaña also became the all-time leading minutes leader for Costa Rica at a World Cup. And provided he's fresh and healthy, there will be at least one more game coming up.

Speaking of which, Costa Rica's next game will be against the Netherlands on Saturday at 1 pm PT on ESPN and Univision. It will be the final quarterfinal game played at the World Cup -- will the Ticos have the magic to beat their third European team in Brazil?

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