The other day, we babbled on for a bit about D.C. United forward Alvaro Saborio and his chances of playing in tonight's Copa America group stage match for Costa Rica against the United States. And when today's lineup tweet came out, we weren't entirely surprised to see Sabo left out again:
It was more a surprise that Ticos manager Oscar Ramirez decided to leave out defensive midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda, while Francisco Calvo took over for the suspended Kendall Waston as one of the three center backs. But when starting striker Marco Ureña was forced off with an injury and Sabo came on in the 18th minute, the general sentiment was conflicted, even by his current club:
Nevertheless, there wasn't (nor should there have been) a cause for major concern when it came to the USMNT's hopes. The Ticos were missing Waston, Tejeda, Keylor Navas (though the Real Madrid keeper DID have an excuse), and then their first choice forward in Ureña. Saborio coming on should not really have been considered a threat for anyone who has seen him start recently for the Black-and-Red. And that's how it played out for United's inconsistent #9: He completed 13 of 17 passes, and won just one aerial duel out of six as the US center backs dealt with him comfortably.
So now the Ticos move on to Saturday and play a Colombia side that will probably not have a lot of work to do to win Group A. The Ticos could still go through, but they need to beat the group's heavyweight by a wide margin while hoping that Colombia wins tonight, and then would need Paraguay to beat or tie the US while having the goals all add up in their favor. If Costa Rica does get eliminated Saturday, which is highly likely, then Saborio would likely be in line to play for United in June 18's road game with the Houston Dynamo.
As for the Yanks, the US saw a convincing performance defensively from Geoff Cameron and John Brooks in their 4-0 win, which reduces Steve Birnbaum's chances to play for the time being. It is looking like United will have to do without Birnbaum for longer than Saborio, which is not really a surprise.