United States vs. Costa Rica
|Date & Time||Saturday February 2, 2019, 3:30 PM (EST)|
San Jose, California,
The Line: US -172 / Costa Rica +500 / Draw -172 -- Over/Under: 2.5
The United States and Costa Rica meet Saturday in an international friendly soccer match at Avaya Stadium.
The United States got a nice victory in its opener under coach Gregg Berhalter, beating Panama 3-0. In the victory, the US controlled possession for 66 percent of the match, got six shots on goal and limited any real scoring threats with a disciplined defense. Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez were the three players to find the back of the net for team USA and it was the teams first shutout victory since its September friendly last year against Mexico. The offensive explosion was a sight for sore eyes given the struggles of this squad as of late, and a victory here would likely only raise expectations for this young roster. The United States will turn a lot of heads with another winning performance, this time against a much more noteworthy opponent.
Costa Rica will have coach Gustavo Matosas make his debut in this contest, as interim manager Ronald Gonzalez finished up 2018 before being cut. Costa Rica has won its last two matches, but this is also a club that hasn’t played since November and has just five players on its current squad with less than double-digit caps. There’s some concerns with Los Ticos heading in this match when you consider there’s not a pure striker on this roster and there have been some defensive hiccups for this squad as well. Francisco Calvo leads Costa Rica with four goals, while Jose Miguel Cubero and Jose Guillermo Ortiz are the only other players with more than one international goal. Jonathan McDonald is one player who could lead the charge and provide a spark for this inexperienced unit. Costa Rica has also allowed a combined 10 goals in its last four matches and has given up at least two goals in seven of its last eight matches. Like Panama, Costa Rica enters its first 2019 match against the US with question marks.
Costa Rica beat the US in the last meeting, 2-0, in a 2017 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match. Costa Rica has won three of the last five meetings against the United States, but the Americans have won the other two matches. This has developed into quite a rivalry over the years and Costa Rica leads the all-time series 16-15-6.
If this game is anything like previous meetings, you can expect another close, competitive match. The reason to give the US the edge here is basically the same reason as the Panama match. Costa Rica comes into this game with a brand new manger and a lot of question marks. There’s not many scoring threats on this Costa Rica roster and this is also a defense that got blown up in previous matches. The US is at home, playing with confidence and has a bunch of young guys who are on the attack offensively and solid defensively.
I’ll update with lines once they’re released, but right now I’m leaning in the direction of another victory for the United States.