World Cup Qualifying Preview and Prediction: USA vs Costa Rica

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier (CONCACAF): USA vs Costa Rica

Red Bull Arena – Friday, September 1 – 18:55 ET (23:55 BST)

Match Odds: USA 7/10 – Draw 23/10 – Costa Rica 4/1

USA vs Costa Rica: Preview

The USA (2-2-2) host Costa Rica (3-1-2) in a crucial World Cup qualifier at Red Bull Arena on Friday night. The United States have not lost a game since Bruce Arena took over as head coach from Jurgen Klinsmann. But the USA’s last defeat did come in their 4-0 qualifying loss at Costa Rica last December.

That heavy defeat left the USA bottom of the Hexagonal after back-to-back defeats. Klinsmann’s time was up and Arena was brought back in. Things have improved dramatically since.

The USMNT now sit third in the Hex, three points behind Costa Rica with four games to go. If they can win here, they will move ahead of Los Ticos on goal difference.

Recent form suggests the USA should prove too strong. They are unbeaten in 14 under Arena and have won five-straight games. They beat Costa Rica 2-0 on their way to winning the 2017 Gold Cup Final against Jamaica last month and are on a roll.

Costa Rica haven’t played since that semifinal loss to the United States at last month’s Gold Cup. They started the Hex in blistering form, scoring six goals in two games without conceding. But they have since won just one of their four qualifiers.

Embed from Getty Images

They still have a squad strong enough to win any game in qualifying, but they must get back to where they were at this stage last year. They went unbeaten from June to January last year, posting a 7-0-3 record in that run.

The USA haven’t lost a home World Cup qualifier to Costa Rica since 1985. They have won six of their last eight home games against Los Ticos since that loss 32 years ago.

USA vs Costa Rica: Team News

USA head coach Bruce Arena hasn’t included any surprise call-ups in his squad for the upcoming qualifiers. 18 of the 26 players play in MLS and are in optimum shape at this stage of the regular season. While stars from European clubs such as Christian Pulisic, Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson will all expect to start. Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler and Jozy Altidore will all pick up a suspension if they receive yellow cards on Friday night.

Costa Rica will have to cope without star winger Joel Campbell. He is recovering from knee surgery and is ruled out for some time. Los Ticos do still have top talent to call on though, with Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas the standout name in the roster. Seven MLS players are included in the Costa Rica squad, including Vancouver duo Kendall Waston and Cristian Bolanos as well as Portland’s David Guzman and NYCFC’s Rodney Wallace. San Jose Earthquakes’ Marcos Urena might start up front.

USA vs Costa Rica: Key Points

USA’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Costa Rica’s last five: W/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: The USA are unbeaten in 14 games since Bruce Arena took over from Jurgen Klinsmann last December. They’ve gone 9-0-5 under Arena in 2017.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The USA veteran needs one more goal to become the USMNT’s all-time leading goalscorer. He is currently tied with Landon Donovan on 57 and will break the record if he finds the back of the net here. He has four in his last seven internationals and comes into Friday’s game in good form with the Sounders. He’s also the leading scorer in the Hex coming into Friday’s fixtures.

Embed from Getty Images

USA vs Costa Rica: Prediction

USA 2-0 Costa Rica – The USA have won their last two home qualifiers without conceding a goal. That shouldn’t change on Friday as they arrive in high spirits with an experienced squad of stars. Costa Rica’s qualifying campaign is almost the complete opposite of the United States’. They started well but now look vulnerable and a resurgent USMNT should get the job done at Red Bull Arena on Friday.

Advertisements

International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Costa Rica

Competition: International Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Tuesday, October 13 – 23:30 BST (18:30 ET)

Match Odds: USA 4/5 – Draw 9/4 – Costa Rica 11/4 

Match Preview

Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT will want to quickly forget the heartbreaking loss on Saturday with a win when they host Costa Rica on Tuesday night in an international friendly.

The USMNT lost out on the chance of playing at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia with the loss to Mexico on Saturday as they went down 3-2 in extra time.

Embed from Getty Images

That loss followed the the disappointing Gold Cup run on home soil in the summer in what will go down as a year to forget for the US national team. And they will not be too confident of turning things around instantly here, after only winning twice in their last eight against Costa Rica.

For those that remember, England were knocked out of the World Cup in 2014 at the expense of Costa Rica so the nation possesses a great team. However, they have also endured a difficult 2015.

Costa Rican have won just once this year, coming in a 1-0 win over Uruguay in September but they will see Tuesday’s game as a good chance to seal another victory over the USMNT.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Points

USA’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

Costa Rica’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: The USA have never beaten Costa Rica in an international friendly (P3 – D1 – L2)

Key Player: Joel Campbell – Everyone that saw Costa Rica at the World Cup should know how much of a talent Campbell is and it still baffles many as to how Arsene Wenger leaves him on the bench all the time at Arsenal.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

USA 2-1 Costa Rica – Hopefully this meeting will be more than just another game as both sides have a point to prove as CONCACAF rivals. Both have proved themselves as solid sides over the past few years and this will be a good test for both. This should be an advert for how good football has become in North and Central America and an entertaining affair is expected.

Orlando City sign Bryan Rochez as second designated player, but who is he?

On another big day of spending for the Florida-based side, Orlando City have have taken a huge gamble by making Bryan Rochez their second designated player after Kaka.

At the ripe age of nineteen he has made a meteoric rise in his country of birth, Honduras, and already has six caps for Los Catrachos.

The news comes as a bit of a shock seeing as Orlando have been linked with more high-profile targets such as Robinho and Brek Shea recently.

However, in Rochez they have a natural goalscorer as he was the second highest scorer in the Honduran Premier League last season with 20 goals. And he has started this campaign with the same form, netting eight times in fifteen appearances.

Embed from Getty Images

Rochez is the first Honduran to be a part of the Orlando City squad and joins fellow designated player, Kaka, in Orlando’s debut season in MLS.

He was a member of the Honduran under-20 team that won the Central American games in 2013, where he scored the winner as they won 1-0 against Costa Rica in the final.

Orlando now has a fresh young talent in Rochez but he is yet to be proven in the fast paced game that MLS provides. And at only nineteen years of age, will this big gamble pay off for Orlando City?

Many will question this bit of business from the Florida-based franchise, however, he could be just the key finisher to latch on to the creativity that Kaka is sure to provide.

Do you think Bryan Rochez will be a success at Orlando City?