Fresh off of a 3-0 win over Panama in which they wore their opponents down, the United States will have to step their game up a level to match that feat against Costa Rica. While the Ticos, like the USMNT, are without their European-based players, they have a far deeper pool of capable players to call on than Panama, and recent matches between these countries have helped Costa Rica face the U.S. without feeling intimidated in the slightest. On top of that, the element of surprise that was Gregg Berhalter’s flexible lineup is gone, meaning that the Americans will have to execute at a high level throughout.
Key player: Russell Canouse
Put Canouse on the field you cowards!
Location: Avaya Stadium (San Jose, CA)
Kickoff time: 3:30pm Eastern
Projected USMNT starting 11: (433) - Zack Steffen; Nick Lima, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Daniel Lovitz; Sebatian Lletget, Wil Trapp, Djordje Mihailovic; Paul Arriola, Christian Ramirez, Jonathan Lewis
Bench: Sean Johnson, Reggie Cannon, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Keegan Rosenberry, Michael Bradley, Russell Canouse, Marky Delgado, Cristian Roldan, Corey Baird, Gyasi Zardes, Jeremy Ebobisse
I’m not exactly how much rotation we’re going to see, but if Berhalter wants to retain the 433 that becomes a 3241 in attack, he probably can’t do too much to his back four. I suspect we’ll see Mihailovic rewarded for a fine display while the rest of the midfield is rotated, as should the front three. That means a place for Paul Arriola, which could leave him up against his D.C. United teammate Joseph Mora.
Projected Costa Rica starting 11: It’s probably not wise to hazard a guess here, but we may see both Mora and former United striker Jose Guillermo Ortiz at some point in this one. Here’s the full Costa Rica squad:
Available TV: Fox (the big one), UniMas, Univision Deportes
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer Match Pass, Univision Now, Univision Deportes En Vivo
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What are you drinking?: Likely a can of Polar lemon seltzer to start, maybe a beer (DC Brau’s Penn Quarter Porter) after halftime.
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