Costa Rica's Footballers in Europe Finding Their Form
Bryan Ruiz and Keylor Navas look strong in appearances for Fulham and Levante, respectively, while Mexico's Carlos Vela and Gio Dos Santos continue to shine for their clubs.
February 26, 2013
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Much like the USMNT, much of the talent on the teams they’ll face in the Hex plays for top foreign clubs. Each week, we’ll take a look at how several players performed. The list isn’t all-inclusive, but seeks to include all players who American fans could see square off against the USMNT. Also, don’t forget to check out our section dedicated to all things Hex.
We’ll focus first on the United States’ next Hex opponents:
Costa Rica’s presumed-number-one-but-he’s-sort-of-their-number-two Keylor Navas made his second straight start for Levante on Monday. He had a worse outing than last game, allowing goals in the 87th and 90th minutes in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Osasuna. Navas did make some tough saves prior to those final moments, leading one Costa Rican site to describe his performance as “stellar.” Jury's still out, apparently.
Bryan Ruiz had a very good game for Fulham in a 1-0 defeat of Stoke. He played the full 90 slotted behind Dimitar Berbatov but did pick up an early yellow card.
Real Betis easily handled Málaga, getting a 3-0 win. Joel Campbell started at forward and had a trio of chances he should’ve converted to make the win even more decisive but was unable to score. He came off in the 76th minute. The club’s efforts to make his loan from Arsenal continue with representatives headed to London soon.
Bryan Oviedo came on for Steven Pienaar in the 86th minute of Everton’s 2-1 loss to Norwich City.
Gilberto Martínez, who signed with 3rd division Italian side Lecce in the transfer window, started in his debut with the club. The club drew 2-2 with Virtus Entella. We probably won’t see Martinez with the national team, but he’s a somewhat familiar name.
Carlos Vela’s most recent matches are truly remarkable. The striker, estranged from the national team, scored this weekend for the second week running. He’s had a goal or an assist in all but two of Real Sociedad’s nine La Liga matches. This weekend, he didn’t start against Athletic Bilbao but came on in the 68th minute. He scored this left-footed goal after the Athletic defense decided it wasn’t a good idea to mark him.
Mallorca lost again, but Gio dos Santos did this:
He was, by all accounts, fantastic all match but his great play and goal couldn’t keep the team from a 3-1 loss to Getafe.
Chicharito had a couple of chances to score in his start against QPR, but the Manchester United striker couldn’t put any away and made way for Wayne Rooney in the 62nd minute.
It was a second-straight bad week for Guillermo Ochoa. His own team scored against him and instead of taking advantage of a sending off, Ajaccio allowed Lille two more goals before snapping to attention. It was too late and Lille won, 3-1.
Hector Moreno conceded a foul that led to a penalty. Falcao converted it, and Atletico beat Espanyol by a 1-0 scoreline.
Andres Guardado was an unused substitute for Valencia in a draw with Zaragoza.
Javier Aquino came on for 17 minutes in his home debut with new club Villarreal.
A horrible week for the Reggae Boyz’ Reading trio: Adrian Mariappa went the full 90 and was rather poor at center back in the 3-0 defeat to Wigan. Jobi McAnuff was marginally better in the midfield and also went the full 90. Garath McCleary came on in the 71st when the team was already three goals and one man down.
Nyron Nosworthy played Watford’s entire 2-1 win against Derby in defense. Theo Robinson didn’t suit up for the Rams.
Omar Daley made his first appearance for Motherwell in several weeks. It could’ve been under better circumstances; the side lost 3-0.
Midfielder Marvin Elliott went the full 90 for Bristol City in high-scoring 5-3 win against Barnsley.
Ricardo Fuller played the second half of Charlton’s 2-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.
Rodolph Austin wasn’t in the Leeds side for either of the team's two matches last week.
Marlon King did not appear for Birmingham City.
Another 90 minutes for Nathan Smith in another 1-0 loss for Chesterfield.
Dane Richards wasn’t in the Burnley team when it lost to Brighton on Saturday.
Román Torres got a foolish second yellow in Millonarios’ defeat to Club Tijuana in the Copa Libertadores. He’ll miss a crucial match this week when the club heads to Corinthians. The match will be played behind closed doors after a flare killed a 14-year-old San Jose fan when the Bolivian club played in Brazil for the opening Libertadores match.
Millonarios also lost in league, 1-0, to Once Caldas. Torres got a yellow card in the 77th minute of that match.
Gabriel Gomez got two yellows and was sent off (that’s what happens) in the 63rd minute of Junior’s 1-0 loss to Deportivo Pasto on Sunday.
Armando Cooper came on in the 72nd minute of Godoy Cruz’s 2-1 victory against Atlético Rafaela in Argentina.
Still no sign of Yairo Yau for Sydney FC since his return from Panama’s opening Hex match. Melbourne Heart beat Sydney, 3-1. He missed last week’s match because of sickness.
The Ekstraklasa returned, but Luis Henríquez didn’t suit up for Lech Poznan.
Maynor Figueroa had a fantastic game in Wigan’s 3-0 win against Reading. Figueroa had a goal and an assist from his left back spot and nearly scored another. All that, plus a couple of fantastic defensive plays made for a good day for the veteran defender. He was also the victim of a senseless foul by Reading forward Pavel Pogrebynak, who was rewarded with a straight red.
Roger Espinoza was an unused substitute.
Emilio Izaguirre came out of Celtic’s 5-0 beat down of Dundee FC in the 65th minute. Probably not cause for concern there.
Another goal for Carlo Costly, his fourth this year and second in the league. He got in alone on goal and beat the keeper for the opening goal of a 2-0 win for Veria. Enjoy both the finish and the sweet beats.
Defensive midfielder Jorge Claros went the full match for Hibernian in a 2-2 draw with Dundee United.
Andy Najar is still out injured and has yet to make his Anderlecht debut.
Red Star Belgrade gets back to action Wednesday. Defensive midfielder Luis Garrido could make his Serbian debut.
Wilson Palacios was not in the Stoke side.
Have we missed any players who you think should be in the U.S.’ game tape rotation? Any information you’d like to see in future editions? Let us know in the comments section.Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.