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Gold Cup Preview: United States vs Costa Rica
USA vs Cuba
The Rentschier Field in East Hartford, CT, will set the stage for United States vs Costa Rica as they play in the last game of group stage in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 16. This game for the United States has little consequence as they have already overpowered Belize (6-1) and Cuba (4-1). If the U.S. achieve expected victory they will play the Group B runner up. If they lose they will play the Group B winner, which Costa Rica is capable of making the game close according to US coach Jurgen Klinsmann.“Everybody knows and has respect for Belize and Cuba,” he spoke generously. “But the benchmark for us now starts with Costa Rica. We’re looking forward to that match. We need now games where we are eye to eye to the opponents, where we know it’s going to go down to the wire.” The US coach is very right in saying this because the last time these two teams met the U.S. snuck away with a 1-0 victory. However the weather conditions will be more favorable in this game compared to the Denver snow blizzard that the Ticos had to endure. After that game the Costa Rica FA actually protested that the World Cup qualifying match should have never taken place to begin with, but were denied by FIFA. Nick Rimando, U.S. goalkeeper, is very aware that Costa Rica will look for revenge on the pitch tomorrow. “We’ve probably been on their list since that last qualifier. We’ve got to be ready. They’re not going to come out and bunker in so we’re going to have to play a little football now."
This Costa Rican team should prove to be a challenge for the US as they have won both of their group games. Costa Rican Manager Jorge Luis Pinto said this about the way his team will come out to play, “We’re going to go strong, we’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to go with everything we’ve got.”
They are without two key attackers Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell, but for the most part are at full strength. The creative attacking play of Costa Rica is definitely one of their strengths as they will test the likes of veteran Oguchi Onyewu and other U.S. defenders by pushing forward and using their quickness on the break. U.S. midfielder Joe Corona said this about Costa Rica after the victory against Cuba, “They’re a tough team. We’ve got to come out like we did today in the second half, with that mentality. Try to move the ball fast and try to score the chances we have up top.” With Landon Donovan creating as a facilitator, Joe Corona becoming more comfortable in the midfield and the impressive Chris Wondolowski scoring goals, the US should have plenty of chances.
How coach Klinsmann approaches this group game will be interesting. With the first place in the group and a possibility at breaking the 7 game winning streak record from 2007 on the line it’s highly likely that he will go with a full force lineup for this game.