USA vs. Costa Rica preview: USMNT faces must-win game

usa-costa-rica

Copa America Centenario began on Friday with the United States facing Colombia, and boy was the result disappointing. There were very few bright spots for the US. Colombia took a 2-0 lead into halftime and never allowed the US to pose anything resembling a threat in the second half. But there is no time to lament as the US needs to get ready for its second of three games. Next game up is Costa Rica.

One of the very few bright spots for the US against Colombia was that John Brooks, of all people, was the best US player on the field. It seems as though he has finally been able to translate his good club form for Hertha Berlin to the national team. Another bright spot is that despite being a very dangerous attacking team, the US defense did not allow Colombia to score from the run of play, but instead from two set pieces (a corner kick and a penalty). Other than that, the whole game was a complete debacle with very few chances in the first half and even fewer after halftime. Michael Bradley was the worst player of the game for either team. Despite fans’ exultations that Bradley is the best player on the US team, he is never able to play well in big games (think back to his dismal 2014 World Cup). He was conceding possession to Colombia time after time. What’s more is that he was not playing “out of position” (which is a ludicrous argument. It’s not like he’s being asked to play offensive tackle. He’s still in the midfield) but was allowed to sit back and try to distribute the ball. If the US wants to have any hope of advancing in the tournament, Bradley needs to learn to stop passing to the opponent.

Costa Rica’s Copa America did not get off to a pleasant start either. They lost their top goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, to an ACL injury before he completed his season with Real Madrid (though Patrick Pemberton is a very capable backup). Their opening group game against Paraguay was an ugly, physical affair. It ended 0-0 but Costa Rica came off worse as Kendall Waston was sent off for a vicious tackle in the dying moments of the game and will be suspended for the game against the US. However, they do sit above the US in Group A with one point from their draw, while the US sits bottom with 0 points and a -2 goal difference. What’s worrying for Costa Rica is that they still have to play the toughest two teams in the group, while the US has already played group favorites Colombia.

Notes:

• Friday night against Colombia was the first USA game to be played at Levi’s Stadium.

• Tuesday’s game against Costa Rica will be the first time the US has played at Soldier Field since the 2013 Gold Cup Final against Panama.

• The last time the US lost two games to start a tournament was the 2009 Confederations Cup.

• This will be the first time John Books has been to Chicago in nearly 20 years. Brooks is one of several US players with German mothers and US servicemen fathers. 

When, Where

Tuesday, June 7
Soldier Field
Chicago, Illinois
8pm ET / 5pm PT
FOX Sports 1, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network, FOX Sports Go, FOX Soccer 2GO, and fuboTV (free trial)

All-Time Series

USA trails 13-14-6

Last Meeting

October 13, 2015

Red Bull Arena
Harrison, New Jersey
USA 0-1 Costa Rica

Current FIFA Ranking

USA: 31
Costa Rica: 23

Next Game Up

June 11, 2016
USA vs. Paraguay
Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

SEE MORE: FOX’s Copa America TV coverage makes promising start despite distractions

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One Response

  1. Clayton France June 7, 2016

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