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U.S. MNT vs. Costa Rica - Pre-Game Notes


U.S. MNT vs. Costa Rica - Pre-Game Notes
Boston, Massachusetts
July 11, 2005

COAST TO COAST: With two of three games in the bag, the U.S. and its Group B counterparts chartered to Boston on Sunday afternoon in preparation for the final match of group play.  It was certainly an intimate cross-country journey, with all four teams, referees and tournament officials traveling on the same plane. With both teams already having secured a ticket to the quarterfinals, the U.S. will face Costa Rica in a matchup to determine first place in the group. The U.S. currently holds the edge based on goal differential and needs a win or a draw to secure the top spot.  Kickoff at Gillette Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET., and the match will be broadcast live on Telefutura, which has added English closed-captioning for all USA Gold Cup matches for U.S. fans who don’t speak Spanish. As always, fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

INJURIES/CARDS: Conor Casey suffered a torn ACL and a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his right knee against Cuba, sidelining the forward for the next several months.  Eddie Pope has a mild sprain in his left ankle that he picked up in the first half of the 2-0 win against Canada, an injury that forced his substitution at halftime.  His availability for Tuesday's match remains uncertain.  The U.S. has six players carrying yellow cards into the final match, with Tony Sanneh, Frankie Hejduk and DaMarcus Beasley picking up cautions in the first match and Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni and Oguchi Onyewu getting booked against Canada.  For the Costa Ricans, Geiner Segura and Bryan Ruiz are in the same boat.  A caution received in Tuesday's match by any of these players would result in a suspension for the quarterfinals. 

NO STRANGERS IN THE GOLD CUP: The U.S. and Costa Rica seem to seek each other out, as the teams have met in five of seven Gold Cups.  The U.S. holds an unbeaten 5-0-0 record, notching 11 goals while surrendering six. Three of the meetings have been in the knockout phase, the most recent a 3-2 U.S. win in the third-place match of the 2003 tournament.  The sides met in the final of the 2002 event, when goals by Josh Wolff and Jeff Agoos gave the United States their second Gold Cup crown. That matchup launched the U.S. campaign that would end with the historic quarterfinal finish in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The full Gold Cup results:

Date                      Result         U.S. goals     
July 7, 1991           3-2 W       Perez, Vermes, Own goal
July, 21, 1993 (s)   1-1 W(ot)  Kooiman
Feb. 7, 1998          2-1 W       Pope, Radosavljevic
Feb. 2, 2002 (f)     2-0 W       Wolff, Agoos
July 26, 2003 (3)   3-2 W       Bocanegra, Stewart, Convey              

ALL_ACCESS VIDEO – COSTA RICA PREVIEW: While both teams have already secured a spot in the quarterfinal round, the U.S. MNT knows that Costa Rica always comes to play, and Tuesday’s Group B finale will be no exception. Manager Bruce Arena, goalkeeper Kasey Keller and the rest of the U.S. Men’s National Team discuss the stern test Costa Rica will provide and how the team must set an early tone. It's all part of All_Access Video, the exclusive video content at ussoccer.com.

MOOCH BREAKS DOWN COSTA RICA: U.S. assistant coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick has been given the task of scouting Costa Rica, a team he knows very well.  Today he takes us through a Costa Rican squad still in search of its identity, but one that is capable of getting results.  In addition, he talks about the USA's performance in the tournament so far, and the surprises he's seen from the other groups.  Find out the strengths of the Costa Rican side and the keys to the matchup as Mooch breaks down Costa Rica in this exclusive podcast on ussoccer.com.

DONOVAN ON A TEAR: With three goals in the first two games of the Gold Cup, Landon Donovan has improved upon an already red-hot streak. In addition to increasing his career tally to 25 goals, good for sole possession of third place on the all-time U.S. list, he has also:

• scored goals in four consecutive games, tying the U.S. MNT's all-time record streak (shared now with William Looby, 1955; Brian McBride, 2001; and Eddie Johnson, 2005)
• upped his career goal total in the Gold Cup to eight goals, now tied for second place with Brian McBride and one behind Eric Wynalda
• increased his team-leading point total to 16 in just eight appearances on the year (6 goals, 4 assists)
• collected more career points than caps (69 points, 66 caps). No other player in U.S. history with a minimum of 20 caps has more points than caps

GROUP B REWIND
: The USA's 2-0 win against Canada gave them an unbeaten 2-0-0 record and the edge in the group standings based on a +5 goal differential, compared to Costa Rica's +3.  Costa Rica kept their record unblemished with a 3-1 win against Cuba on the strength of two penalties awarded in a five-minute span in the 81st and 85th minutes.  With the U.S. and Costa Rica set to decide the group winner, Canada and Cuba still seek their first points in group play. Both sides nonetheless cling to hopes of earning one of the two spots in the next round as a third-place finisher.

GROUP B - Standings/Results
Team   GP   W   L   T   GF   GA   GD   Pts.
USA     2     2    0    0     6      1     +5     6
CRC     2     2    0    0     4      1     +3     6
CAN    2      0   2     0    0      3      -3     0
CUB     2     0    2    0     2      7      -5     0

July 9, 2005 - QWEST Field,  Seattle, Wash. – CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group B
COSTA RICA    3     Randall Brenes 61', 85' pen; Jafet Soto 81' pen
CUBA                 1     Maikel Galindo 72'
Att: 15,109

CRC: 1-Alvaro Mesen (capt.); 5-Gabriel Badilla, 19-Mauricio Wright, 4-Michael Umana; 11-Christian Bolanos (17-Steven Bryce 75), 14-Geiner Segura, 20-Douglas Sequiera, 12-Junior Diaz, 10-Jafet Soto; 7-Oscar Rojas; 9-Bryan Ruiz

CUB: 1-Odelin Molina (capt.); 16-Reysander Fernand Marquez, 5-Alexander Cruzata, 2-Silvio Minoso (19-Jensis Munoz, 68); 15-Gisbel Morales (18-Leonel Duarte, 85), 17-Pedro Faife (7-Jorge Ramirez, 60), 6-Enrique Villauruttia, 9-Alain Cervantes; 10-Lester More (18-Leonel Duartes, 57), 13-Maykel Galindo (11-Mario Gil, 77)

July 9, 2005 - QWEST Field,  Seattle, Wash. – CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group B
USA                2      Own goal (Atiba Hutchinson) 48', Landon Donovan 90'
CANADA       0     
Att: 15,109

USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 6-Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope (12-Jimmy Conrad, 46), 4-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Greg Vanney; 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 19-Steve Ralston, 10-Landon Donovan, 5-John O’Brien (7-DaMarcus Beasley, 67); 16-Josh Wolff, 13-Pat Noonan (14-Chris Armas, 81)

CAN: 1-Greg Sutton, 2-Adam Braz, 5-Gabriel Gervais, 13-Atiba Hutchinson, 15-Josh Simpson; 6-Patrick Bernier, 16-Patrick Leduc (17-Jaime Peters, 68), 8-Adrian Serioux, 11-Jim Brennan (12-Sandro Grande, 79); 14-Dwayne De Rosario (capt.), 10-Oliver Occean (9-Ali Gerba, 70)

July 7, 2005 - QWEST Field,  Seattle, Wash. – CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group B
CANADA           0
COSTA RICA    1      Jafet Soto 30'
Att: 15,831

CAN: Greg Sutton, Adam Braz, Kevin McKenna (capt.), Patrice Bernier, Ali Gerba ( Ian Hume, 70), Jim Brennan, Sandro Grande (Jaime Peters, 90), Atiba Hutchinson, Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Simpson, Patrick Leduc (Adrian Serioux, 83)

CRC: Roy Miller, Michael Umana, Dany Fonseca, Jose Luis Lopez, Bryan Ruiz, Jafet Soto (Oscar Rojas, 76), Christian Bolanos, Victor Cordero, Harold Wallace (Geiner Segura, 56), Steven Bryce (Douglas Sequeira, 85), Jose Francisco Porras (capt.)

July 7, 2005 - QWEST Field,  Seattle, Wash. – CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group B
CUBA     1          Lester More 18'
USA        4          Clint Dempsey 44’, Landon Donovan 87’, 93’; DaMarcus Beasley 89’
Att: 15,831

USA: 1-Marcus Hahnemann; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Jimmy Conrad, 22-Tony Sanneh; 14-Chris Armas (capt.), 15-Ben Olsen (16-Josh Wolff, 76), 9-Santino Quaranta, 21-Brad Davis (5-John O’Brien, 76), 8-Clint Dempsey; 11-Conor Casey (10-Landon Donovan 66), 7-DaMarcus Beasley
Subs not used: 18-Kasey Keller, 4-Oguchi Onyewu, 6-Steve Cherundolo, 19-Steve Ralston

CUB: 1-Odelin Molina (capt.); 16-Reysander Fernandez, 3-Yenier Marquez, 5-Alexander Cruzata, 2-Silvio Minoso; 8-Disney Aquino, 14-Jaime Colone, 6-Enrique Villauruttia, 9-Alain Cervantes; 10-Lester More (18-Leonel Duartes, 57), 13-Maykel Galindo (11-Mario Gil, 77)
Subs not used: 12-Alexis Aviles, 4-Mario Rodriguez, 15-Gisbel Morales, 17-Pedro Faife, 19-Jensis Munoz

QUICK HITS:

• The U.S. has used 22 of 23 players on the roster as starters in the first two games, with only goalkeeper Matt Reis not seeing minutes
• With the 2-0 victory against Canada, the U.S. increased its undefeated record in Gold Cup group play to 18-0-0
• The U.S. has now collected 20 shutouts in 33 lifetime matches in Gold Cup action
• Kasey Keller increased his record to 13-3-1 in Gold Cup play, picking up his 11th career shutout in the tournament
• Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Steve Ralston are tied for the most appearances for the U.S. team this year, each having earned minutes in eight of ten matches
• Dempsey and Ralston are part of a host of players tied for third on the team point list in 2005, Dempsey notching two goals and an assist while Ralston has one goal and three assists.  The others with five points include DaMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna
• Seven players on the roster appeared in the USA's last meeting in the Gold Cup with Costa Rica, when the U.S. erased a 2-1 halftime deficit to capture third place in the 2003 Gold Cup with a 3-2 victory.  Donovan had two assists on the day, setting up Carlos Bocanegra for the first goal and helping Bobby Convey to the game-winner, while Greg Vanney delivered the ball that Earnie Stewart turned into a Goal of the Year candidate. The players on the field that day:  Beasley, Donovan, Hejduk, Keller (capt.), Mastroeni, Ralston, Vanney
• That match also marked the only time in the seven-year tenure of U.S. Manager Bruce Arena that the team has won after trailing at halftime.  The team's overall record under Arena while down at the break is 1-13-4
• The U.S. has played three Gold Cup matches in Foxboro, all during the 2003 competition.  The side posted three straight shutout victories, including the 5-0 quarterfinal win against Cuba in which Landon Donovan exploded for four goals.  Kasey Keller was the netminder for all three games, and Frankie Hejduk earned his 50th cap in the 2-0 win against Martinique on July 14.
• John O’Brien’s start against Canada marked his first match for the national team in over two years, his last action coming in the same stadium (Qwest Field) against Venezuela on March 29, 2003.  Listen to O'Brien talk about getting back on the field and the thought of making his first start in this exclusive podcast at ussoccer.com
• Santino Quaranta, Brad Davis and Jimmy Conrad all earned their first MNT cap against Cuba. Conrad picked up No. 2 against Canada, entering as a second-half substitute in place of Eddie Pope. Conrad reflects on his first experience with the full team in this exclusive podcast at ussoccer.com
• Quaranta picked up his first-ever point with the MNT when he assisted DaMarcus Beasley on the USA’s third goal

ALL ABOUT COSTA RICA:

THE SQUAD: Costa Rica are a self-described 'team in transition', with newly appointed head coach Alexandre Guimaeres in search of the combination capable of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.  After five games in the final phase of qualifying, the Costa Ricans are sitting in third place on seven points, yet still feeling uneasy as the second half of the campaign approaches.  Guimaeres has introduced some new faces into the squad for the Gold Cup, as well as abandoning his standard 3-5-2 formation in favor of a 4-4-2.  While the Ticos have won their first two matches 1-0 and 3-1 respectively, three of their four goals have come from the penalty spot, leaving in question their attacking strengths.

HISTORY: The U.S. holds a lifetime record of 11-9-4 against the Ticos. In their last 10 meetings, the U.S. holds a 7-3-1 advantage against Costa Rica, with all seven wins coming in the U.S. and all three losses coming in San Jose, Costa Rica. The teams last squared off in Salt Lake City, Utah, as the USA rolled to a 3-0 victory in World Cup qualifying before an electric crowd of 40,586 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.  Landon Donovan paced the U.S. with two goals, while Kasey Keller’s 16th shutout in qualifying play earned him ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors. 

TOP PLAYERS: While there is no shortage of young talent, the Costa Ricans have brought a wealth of experience h long-time goalkeeper Alvaro Mesen and former New England Revolution defender Mauricio Wright, who anchors the back line. In the attack, the Ticos rely more on their youth movement.  Cristian Bolanos is a speedy flank player who can take players on as well as serve dangerous balls from the right side, often in search of forward Jaime Rojas, who likes to make runs behind opposing defenses. Jafet Soto can play either wide or behind the forwards, and has proven to be an adept passer.  Soto has been the man from the spot, scoring both of his penalty attempts against Canada and Cuba.

LAST TIME V. COSTA RICA :

June 4, 2005 - Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah - FIFA World Cup qualifier
USA               3    Landon Donovan 6', 63'; Brian McBride 87'
Costa Rica   0

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope, 4-Carlos Bocanegra; 14-Steve Ralston, 25-Kerry Zavagnin, 15-Bobby Convey (2-Frankie Hejduk, 74), 10-Landon Donovan; 16-Josh Wolff (13-Pat Noonan, 64), 20-Brian McBride (Capt.), 7-DaMarcus Beasley (8-Clint Dempsey, 86).

CRC: 1-Alvaro Mesen; 2-Jervis Drummond, 19-Mauricio Wright, 13-Victor Cordero, 5-Gilberto Martinez, 12-Leonardo Gonzalez (17-Steven Bryce, 39); 20-Douglas Sequeira, 16-Carlos Hernandez, 7-Oscar Rojas (9-Paulo Wanchope, 67), 10-Jafet Soto; 21-Alonso Solis (11-Ronald Gomez, 62).


GOLD CUP FOR DUMMIES: The CONCACAF Gold Cup is the regional championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. With 12 teams participating in the finals, the winner will represent CONCACAF in the next FIFA Confederations Cup.  The tournament consists of two phases - the group phase and the knockout phase.  In the group phase, three groups of four teams will play round-robin style, with the top two teams in each group advancing, plus the two best third-place teams.  In the knockout phase, beginning with the quarterfinals, matches are single elimination.  Each team is permitted up to 23 players on the roster, with 18 players dressing for each game.  Any player accumulating two yellow cards will be suspended for the next game.  Single cards will not carry over from the group phase to the knockout phase.

Group A: Colombia, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago
Group B: Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, United States
Group C: Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa

For all the updated news, scores, and standings on the Gold Cup, visit the Gold Cup competition page on ussoccer.com.

 

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