The U.S. National Team touched down in Costa Rica late Tuesday night. If this video posted by Omar Gonzalez to his Instagram account is any indicator, Ticos fans were absoultely thrilled to welcome them to Central America … or the exact opposite. Fortunately there was a barrier to keep the angry crowd from throwing any objects at the team. Middle fingers, apparently, had to suffice.
The Ticos Times says eggs were thrown, although it doesn’t look like they hit their target.
Costa Rica and its fans are clearly still stewing over the 1-0 loss to the U.S. back in March. You remember the game, the one played in Denver in a blinding snowstorm. If you have a second, take time to read this wonderful dispatch from the Costa Rican press which details the score the team has to settle for playing a “rugby match” in the snow. It also calls for heckling in the “clever and respectful manner” and makes fun of ESPN’s Bob Ley, Alexi Lalas and Kasey Keller for their attire during the game in Denver.
In short: all of Costa Rica seemingly wants this one.
There’s a decent chance Costa Rica gets its revenge, despite the U.S. entering Friday night’s qualifier on a record 12-game winning streak. The U.S. has never won a qualifier in Costa Rica, going 0-8-1 in games there since 1975. A win by the Ticos would push them atop the Hex by a point over the U.S., which would drop into second heading into the showdown vs. Mexico Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.
Some positive news: Jozy Altidore’s hamstring issue checked out okay and he’ll be good to go Friday night. Potentially even better? The game will be played at the new Estadio Nacional in San Jose, which has a large running track around it, rather than the Saprissa Stadium which has an artificial grass surface and played like a personal house of horrors for the U.S. over the last few qualifying cycles.
Expect the gamesmanship from Costa Rica to continue throughout the week. Wednesday reports came out that the Costa Rican FA won’t allow the U.S. to train with the official match ball prior to kickoff on Friday.
CONCACAF World Cup qualifying … it ain’t for the faint of heart.