7913_isi_barrantesmichael_usmntmj090211074 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
2013 Gold Cup

Gold Cup Group C Report: Costa Rica Defeats Cuba

Michael Barrantes' brace paced Costa Rica to a 3-0 victory over Cuba in Group A of the 2013 Gold Cup. Though a lopsided scoreline, neither team distinguished itself in the contest.
BY Samuel Mintz Posted
July 09, 2013
10:46 PM
Group A got off to a rousing start. Group C? Not so much.

Failing to match the underdog feats of Martinique and Panama, an extremely underwhelming Cuba fell to a slightly less underwhelming Costa Rica, 3-0, in the first match of Tuesday night’s Gold Cup doubleheader. Los Ticos defeated Cuba in an uneventful match that was most notable for its choppiness.

Cuba failed to win for the 12th Gold Cup game in a row, unable to break a streak that has been building for 10 years.

The MLS-heavy Costa Rica squad, captained by veteran Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio, weren’t all that inspiring either despite the lopsided scoreline.

The game started out with good pace, but was sloppy and full of stoppages from the start, with neither team grabbing a solid hold of the game. That said, Costa Rica looked a bit more dangerous going forward.

Costa Rica finally broke through in the 52nd minute after Michael Barrantes' excellent left-footed half-volley from just outside the box beat Cuba goalkeeper Odelin Molina.

The game came to life a bit after the first goal, as Cuba wilted and Costa Rica started to dominate—as expected.

In the 65th minute, Barrantes ripped another left-footed blast from outside the box that rippled the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed as Jairo Arrieta, who was involved with the play because he blocked the goalkeeper’s sight line, was correctly ruled offside.

However, Arrieta made amends in the 71st minute, scoring Costa Rica’s second goal, fueled by decent buildup, good hustle, and a messy rebound given up by the Cuban goalkeeper.

Barrentes scored his second, and his team’s third, at the 77-minute mark with a curler from about 20 yards out.

So what does this result mean for the U.S.? First of all, if the Americans win against Belize by more than three goals (which you wouldn’t put past the inspired and energetic young lineup put out by Jurgen Klinsmann), the Yanks could go top of Group C after one game.

It also means that the U.S. will be expecting to beat Cuba with relative ease.

Costa Rica remains a bit of a mystery despite its seemingly convincing result. The squad certainly did the job against Cuba, but it also didn’t play nearly as well as it could or should have. It remains to be seen whether the team brought to this Gold Cup by Jorge Pinto can compete with CONCACAF’s best.

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