USA vs Costa Rica : The US Men’s National Team will cap off January camp with a visit from CONCACAF rivals Costa Rica in coach Gregg Berhalter’s second match in charge. After a convincing 3-0 win over Panama last Sunday, one would expect the USMNT to be confident heading into this fixture. But for those who have closely watched the program since the 2018 World Cup Qualifying debacle, confidence does not come to mind. Progress, a sensible systemic approach, and the hard work ahead are the focus now.
In a refreshing change from previous managers, Gregg Berhalter looks like a man with a plan. After much frustration from the fanbase and players alike, Earnie Stewart and US Soccer finally hired their man on December 2nd of 2018. This was after over a year under interim manager Dave Sarachan, and many in and out of the program felt that the long wait for a new coach after the failure to qualify only served to further stymie progress – when the program had the opportunity to start rebuilding earlier than most national teams.
USA vs Costa Rica Live
Camp cupcake – as the January USMNT camp is often referred – historically only features domestic US players, as those plying their trade in Europe are in the middle of their seasons. This doesn’t only apply to the US, however, as other Concacaf foes such as Panama and Costa Rica have players in foreign leagues as well. However, other than Keylor Navas on Costa Rica, the volume of potential starters missing from the USMNT is considerably higher. Christian Pulisic continues to help out a title-chasing Borussia Dortmund, while fellow Bundesliga participants Weston McKennie and John Brooks have consistently impressed for Schalke and Wolfsburg, respectively. Tyler Adams recently made the switch from the NY Red Bulls to the Leipzig iteration, and DeAndre Yedlin is coming off a fine performance for Newcastle United against defending EPL champions Manchester City.
USA vs Costa Rica : International Friendly
This is a great opportunity to see what Berhalter can do with a B squad consisting only of MLS players. And after the team’s performance in a 3-0 victory over Panama, many are impressed. Five US players started in their international debuts – Nick Lima, Daniel Lovitz, Corey Baird, Djordje Mihailovic, and Jeremy Ebobisse – with Nick Lima looking particularly impressive at wingback and Mihailovic opening the scoring in the first half. In the second half, debutant Christian Ramirez was introduced and scored just minutes later.
Costa Rica will offer more of a challenge. They’re typically far less porous than Panama in the back and have the ability to jumpstart a dangerous counterattack once they recover possession. Undoubtedly, Berhalter will have a plan for providing pressure up top as long as the trade-off is additional cover behind. Don’t expect the US to blaze forward time after time on Saturday unless their defense has some midfield help to fend off a potential Costa Rican response.