32213_saborio_alvaro_usmnttq101409141 Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com
The Press Speaks

Two Costa Rican Journalists on Tonight's Match

Jon Arnold talks to two members of the Costa Rican press corps who sound off on what the United States national team can expect tonight. Here's a hint: Lots of Saborio, the Ticos' "Clint Dempsey."
BY Jon Arnold Posted
March 22, 2013
7:39 PM
DENVER—You know what the American media is talking about before tonight’s match, but what about the Costa Rican media? To find out the buzz in Central America, we chatted with Hermes Solano of the sports newspaper Al Día and Cristian Sandoval of Radio Columbia, the news and sports branch of a radio group there.

Here are their thoughts:

How do Costa Ricans view this match against the United States?
Solano: It’s a game that’s always tough, it’s a game that’s always difficult for Costa Rica obviously when they visit the U.S., it’s never easy. We’re talking about one of the best teams in CONCACAF, but there’s a certain degree of, I don’t know if it’s confidence, but in the first two years of the United States under Klinsmann they still haven’t been able to find the team they’ve had in other cycles, so Costa Rica could be able to strike them. Their last WCQ, they drew with Panama 2-2 after being down 2-0, so they’re thinking that they could again get out with a point. Winning is always complicated, but also we remember that the last game between the teams was a friendly in 2011 that Costa Rica won, 1-0 in the Home Depot Center. They have to play an intelligent game; they have to control their emotions.

Sandoval: It’s a difficult match. The United States always plays well in World Cup qualifying. It’s very tough for Costa Rica. When you look at the last few years, Costa Rica hasn’t won a qualifying match here in 28 years, so I think they’ve played well during those years. However, it seems to us that this is a good opportunity. The U.S. isn’t necessarily in the best form right now. They’ve suffered a bit of a setback. The previous generation that gave them such good results in the past decade aren’t here now. There’s a new generation that little by little has to get to the same level that the previous generation did. So, Costa Rica has to take advantage of this chance to get a good result here. A good result for us here would be a tie.

With this being a road match, where does it rank in importance for the visitors?
Solano: It all depends on the result at the end of the match, right? They already took a point in Panama, which obviously gives them certain advantages which they’ll try to make the most of. If you win all your games at home, it sends a clear message that you could be very close to the World Cup. Winning in the United States isn’t easy. Nobody comes here and picks up easy points, so obviously today is an important match because if they also get a point here, they have another match Tuesday in Costa Rica against Jamaica that they have to win because it’s at home.

Sandoval: I think it’s very important. If Costa Rica leaves here with a point, it’s positive. It would be very good because after that they host Jamaica. They started off the Hex with a draw in Panama. So a draw here, a road point, would be great. They always say if you want to make the World Cup, win your home matches and pick up a few points away from home.

Will Alvaro Saborio play and what impact will he have?
Solano: I don’t believe there are any problems. Saborio will play in the match. He knows American soccer perfectly, and I think he’s a player in whom Pinto has a lot of confidence in the attack.

Sandoval: He’s going to play. I’d say he’s the Clint Dempsey of Costa Rica in that they’re not in the best shape, but they’re going to play. He’s a player who’s very important to Costa Rica, just like Clint Dempsey is very important to the U.S.

What’s something most American fans don’t know about the Costa Rican team, but should?
Solano: That Costa Rica has many players who play in foreign leagues. Bryan Ruiz, the captain, plays in England with Fulham, he was teammates with Clint Dempsey. I don’t know if fans here know that or not…playing in Denver, many people are wondering if the temperature will play a factor, but many of the Costa Rican players play in Norway, play in Denmark, play in Europe. They’re accustomed to playing in cold weather.

Sandoval: I believe that it’s a young group that’s had a good amount of experience on the international level. After missing qualification for 2010 World Cup in South Africa because of the Bornstein goal, I think all this could lead to the team looking for a bit of revenge.

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