Costa Rica Sports – The Canadian national team looks to take firm – if unexpected – command of Group A when it faces Costa Rica in an early-evening kickoff in the sultry Houston summer.
Canada vs. Costa Rica
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup – Group A, Matchday 2
BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
Tuesday, July 11 – 7:30 pm ET
Canada currently lead a Gold Cup group for the first time since 2009, thanks to a 4-2 tournament opening win vs. French Guiana, a brace from teenage phenom Alphonso Davies, and a superior +2 goal difference. But the Ticos will still be riding their own sense of accomplishment after Marco Urena scored the winner in Costa Rica’s first-ever Gold Cup victory over Honduras.
Even a draw would likely seal Canada’s first passage out of the group since the 2009 tournament. Lose, and they may need a victory against the same Honduras side that knocked the Canucks out eight years ago at the quarterfinal stage.
Perhaps none of CONCACAF’s big boys are taking the tournament more seriously than Costa Rica, who are leaning stars like Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell while both the US national team and Mexico use the Gold Cup as an audition for fringe players.
That said, New York City FC’s Rodney Wallace got a rare international start, and took advantage Friday by providing the service on Urena’s 39th-minute strike. The Ticos may also have to alter their approach in their second game after Minnesota United forward Johan Venegas left with an early injury Friday.
Davies certainly didn’t do anything to curtail the momentum of his the Vancouver Whitecaps prodigy’s own hype train. His second-half brace completed an historic offensive explosion for Canada, whio had never previously scored four goals in a single Gold Cup match and had scored three times only twice.
That said, French Guiana made things scary by scoring twice in two minutes in the second half while creating more opportunities that a more ruthless team – like Costa Rica – may have exploited. To achieve a truly surprising result against one of the region’s best, Canada will need to return to the defensive form that saw them keep four clean sheets and allow only seven goals total in their nine Gold Cup group matches from 2011 to 2015.
From MLSSoccer.com, By Ian Quillen, Contributor