Costa Rica Soccer – Costa Rica assured themselves of a spot in the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Gold Cup by posting a 3-0 win over French Guiana on Friday night. Ariel Rodriguez scored the winner at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, in the fourth minute, and Rodney Wallace and David Ramirez added insurance goals late in the second half.
- 4′ – CRC – Ariel Rodriguez
- 79′ – CRC – Rodney Wallace
- 83′ – CRC – David Ramirez
- CONCACAF Man of the Match: Ariel Rodriguez
- NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS: If you missed the game but saw the scoreline, you might think this was a complete blowout. It was not, though. Costa Rica scored early, but then struggled to create much danger in the final third until after Ludovic Baal was sent off with a straight red card in the 61st minute. Baal’s ejection and French Guiana’s need to push numbers forward gave Los Ticos acres of space in behind, and the Central American nation capitalized by bagging two late goals.
- LOOKING GOOD: New York City FC winger Rodney Wallace made quite the impression after coming off the bench in the 68th minute. Wallace not only scored the goal that was necessary to put the game on ice, but also made several aggressive runs forward that were not rewarded. It seems a safe bet that he starts in Costa Rica’s quarterfinals bout, regardless of who the opponent is.
- STRONG AT THE BACK: Okay, so the Costa Ricans were playing the weakest team in Group A, but nonetheless they looked good in defense against a French Guiana side that was held largely in check. With Friday’s result, Los Ticos finished group play with two clean sheets and just one goal against. Yes, their attack is still leaving something to be desired, but Costa Rica should have a shot at making it to the semifinals and beyond if their back line continues to perform this well.
Franco Panizo, Contributor, MLSSoccer.com