CONCACAF Under-20 Qualifying to Conclude Thursday as U.S. Faces Costa Rica
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. vs. COSTA RICA: Wolfgang Suhnholz's squad enters the final match against Costa Rica needing a win to take home the Group B championship. Both teams have already advanced to the 2001 World Youth Championship in Argentina, so Thursday's match will be played for the tournament title and regional bragging rights. Both offenses have proved potent in the tournament, with the Costa Ricans knocking in 11 goals in their first two matches. The Ticos' offense has been impressive, but has received more than its share of good fortune. While Costa Rica has piled up goals, they have tallied 10 of their goals against 10 men. In each of the Ticos' first two matches, their opponent lost a player to a red card in the first half.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S.-COSTA RICA IN THE PAST: The two teams have met seven times in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament, with each team winning two and sharing three ties. In the most recent match, the teams drew 1-1 on August 5, 1998 in Trinidad. The U.S. has not lost to Costa Rica in the tournament since 1988, gaining a draw in 1998 and 2-0 wins in 1990 and 1992.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%HAVE WE DONE THIS BEFORE? In 1988 and 1990, the U.S. faced Costa Rica, Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament. In 1988 the U.S. fell to Costa Rica (1-3) and topped Guatemala (1-0) and T & T (4-1). In 1990, the U.S. fell to T&T (0-1) and beat Guatemala (4-1) and Costa Rica (2-0).
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TICOS' JOURNEY TO TRINIDAD: Costa Rica qualified for the final round of the CONCACAF Youth Tournament by winning the UNCAF Championship in December, 2000. The Costa Ricans stormed through the tournament, outscoring their opponents 21-4, topping Honduras 3-0 in the final to secure a place in the finals of the CONCACAF Youth Tournament. The potent Costa Rican attack was paced by Winston Parks, who scored a goal in all four of his team's wins and totaled seven goals in the tournament.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%COSTA RICA IN THE WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: Costa Rica has been one of the more successful CONCACAF teams at the World Youth Championship. The Central American nation has appeared in four World Youth Championships, with all four coming in the last six Championships. After winning the 1988 CONCACAF Youth Tournament, Costa Rica advanced to the World Championship for the first time, and finished 14th out of a 16-team field at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. Costa Rica returned to the WYC in 1995 in Qatar, and has been to each of the last three, with their best finish coming in 1995 when they finished in 10th place. With three consecutive appearances at Qatar 1995, Malaysia 1997 and Nigeria 1999, Costa Rica joins the company of Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Australia as the only five countries to appear in each of the last three World Youth Championships. After a 21st place (out of 24 teams) finish in 1997, the Costa Ricans rebounded at the 1999 World Youth Championship. The Central American squad upset Germany in the last match of the first to advance to the round of 16. Costa Rica fell in the next match to African powerhouse Ghana, but still finished 15th out of 24 teams.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%POWER OUTAGE: The U.S. team hotel was hit by a power outage Wednesday. The lights in the restaurant suddenly went off while the U.S. was eating breakfast Wednesday morning. Back-up generators kicked on, but did were not able to completely power the Cascadia Hotel. Computers, TVs and radios in the players' room were rendered useless for the majority of the day.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. HONORED AT RECEPTION: The U.S. team spent Wednesday night at the Deputy Chief of Mission's residence in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The Deputy Chief of Mission, David Stewart, works at the U.S. Embassy and serves under the U.S. Ambassador in Trinidad. The Deputy Chief invited the U.S. team and their families into his house for a desert reception that also included representatives from the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association and CONCACAF. Stewart addressed the crowd and thanked the U.S. for making him and the entire country proud and for helping to change the world's perception of U.S. soccer.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TWO GAMES DOWN, ONE PLAYER GONE: The U.S. will be without attacking midfielder Landon Donovan for the team's final match against Costa Rica. Less than 12 hours after scoring a goal and notching two assists against T & T, Donovan was awake early Wednesday morning and leaving his Under-20 teammates in Trinidad to join the full Men's National Team at a training camp in Florida. Donovan was one of 20 players called in for the camp leading up to the March 28 World Cup qualifier in Honduras. The U.S., who opened up the final round of World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win against Mexico, will be playing their first road match of the round when they travel to Honduras for a match that will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%ARENA OUT: U.S. midfielder Kenny Arena, who started the first two matches of the tournament, will sit out the final match after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament in Tuesday's match. Arena received his caution in the 88th minute of the 5-1 win against T & T.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%MARTINO RETURNS: U.S. midfielder Kyle Martino, who sat out Tuesday's match after a strained ligament in his right foot late in Sunday's 5-0 win against Guatemala, is expected to play Thursday.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%"IT'S ONLY A GAME": The Centre of Excellence crowd held their breath for several minutes Tuesday night when Landon Donovan and T & T captain Marvin Lee were lying on the ground surrounded by medical personnel after a collision in the fifth minute. Reports early Wednesday morning indicated that Lee had suffered a broken neck. At the reception at the Deputy Chief Stewart's residence Wednesday night, the U.S. team presented an autographed ball to a member of the Trinidad delegation in honor of Lee. Members of the U.S. attempted to visit Lee, but he is listed in critical condition and is not yet allowed to receive visitors.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. Under-20s on TV:
GALAVISION (same day delay)
- Thursday, March 22: USA vs. Costa Rica - 7 p.m. ET & PT
FOX SPORTS WORLD (tape delay schedule)
- Friday, March 23: USA vs. Guatemala - 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT
- Tuesday, March 27: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago - 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT
- Wednesday, March 28: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago - 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT
- Wednesday, March 28: USA vs. Costa Rica - 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%STAT OF THE DAY: The U.S. scored 12 goals in three matches at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in 1998 in Trinidad. The U.S. opened with a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica before pasting Canada (5-1) and T & T (6-1). The U.S needs only two goals to match the output of the 1998 squad.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"It kind of puts it all in perspective and makes you realize that it's only a game."