UNFINISHED WORK: After earning a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a memorable victory against Honduras, the U.S. Men's National team sets its sights on a final goal for CONCACAF qualifying: finishing atop the final round standings for the second consecutive World Cup cycle. The tenth game of the hexagonal brings Costa Rica to RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The Central American nation knows only a win will confirm they head to South Africa alongside the USA and Mexico. For the United States, the highs of qualifying on Saturday turn into the pride of finishing qualifying with a win and confirming an undefeated home campaign in World Cup qualifying. Honduras' 8-0-0 record was memorably broken by Bob Bradley's team on Saturday and now the United States attempts to hold serve in pursuit of its ninth victory on U.S. soil during this cycle. Kickoff from the nation's capital is set for 8 p.m. ET, with live coverage on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker or at twitter.com/ussoccer.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT: Saturday's win against Honduras made for absolutely gripping drama. A five-goal second half was one of the most memorable 45 minutes in Men's National Team history, with the U.S. outlasting Honduras to finish on top at the final whistle. Conor Casey's two goals paced the U.S., who had to come-from-behind after going down a goal early in the second half. Landon Donovan's curling free kick extended the U.S. lead but Honduras pulled one back to set up a grandstand finish. Hearts were in mouths when Honduras striker Carlos Pavon stepped up to the penalty spot, but he blazed over the goal in unbelievable circumstances. The final whistle brought â€œjoy, relief and happiness,â€ as Landon Donovan put it. Relive one of the best U.S. World Cup qualifiers of all time with highlights at ussoccer.com.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR FINAL MATCHDAY IN WASHINGTON D.C.: Tickets for the U.S. Men's National Team's final home qualifier of the 2010 FIFA World Cup cycleÂ are on sale now at ussoccer.com. The USA will take on Costa Rica on Oct. 14 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. in the last game of the final round of qualifying. The United States has a perfect 8-0-0 record in home qualifiers and will try to keep up the run as they meet Los Ticos in the last game of World Cup qualifying.
USA TO FACE DENMARK: The United States Menâ€™s National Team will face fellow 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Denmark on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Aarhus, Denmark. Kickoff at NRGi Park is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and television details will be announced in the near future. Fans can also follow the match live via ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker. The U.S. and Denmark have met five times in their history â€“ never on Danish soil â€“ and the teams have split the spoils with an even 1-1-3 record. In the teamsâ€™ last meeting on Jan. 20, 2007, at The Home Depot Center, both Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper scored in their national team debuts in helping the U.S. to a 3-1 victory. The match was also the first under Bradley, beginning his record-setting run of becoming the first coach in U.S. history to win his first three games in charge.
THE LAST GAME: The 23-month journey of World Cup qualifying comes to an end Wednesday as the six teams in the CONCACAF Final Round conclude play. Nearly two years ago, the quest for the World Cup began with a draw in Durban, South Africa, on Nov. 25, 2007 and now there are 90 minutes left to decide the winner of the group, a goal Bob Bradley and his players set from the start of the qualifying journey. USA and Mexico have already qualified for the World Cup and will fight it out for the top spot while Costa Rica and Honduras are left to determine who qualfies outright for South Africa, and who has to enter into winner take all two-legged playoff with the fifth place team from CONMEBOL. Costa Rica holds a slim advantage, but Los Ticos have to face the United States in Washington, D.C. Honduras has to win on the road in El Salvador, a feat which nobody has managed thus far in the final round. With all to play for on the last Matchday of the Final Round, and based on the drama seen thus far in the Hexagonal, the region is in for a gripping final fixture date.
|Trinidad & Tobgago||9||1||6||2||8||20||-12||5|
* qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Matchday 1 â€“ Feb. 11, 2009
United States 2, Mexico 0
El Salvador 2, Trinidad & Tobago 2
Costa Rica 2, Honduras 0
Matchday 2 â€“ March 28, 2009
Mexico 2, Costa Rica 0
Trinidad & Tobago 1, Honduras 1
El Salvador 2, United States 2
Matchday 3 â€“ April 1, 2009
United States 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Honduras 3, Mexico 1
Costa Rica 1, El Salvador 0
Matchday 4 â€“ June 6, 2009
Trinidad & Tobago 2, Costa Rica 3
United States 2, Honduras 1
El Salvador 2, Mexico 1
Matchday 5 â€“ June 10, 2009
Costa Rica 3, United States 1*
Honduras 1, El Salvador 0
Mexico 2, Trinidad & Tobago 1
*Played on June 3 due to 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
Matchday 6 â€“ Aug. 12, 2009
Mexico 2, United States 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1, El Salvador 0
Honduras 4, Costa Rica 0
Matchday 7 â€“ Sept. 5, 2009
Costa Rica 0, Mexico 3
United States 2, El Salvador 1
Honduras 4, Trinidad & Tobago 1
Matchday 8 â€“ Sept. 9, 2009
Trinidad & Tobago 0, United States 1
El Salvador 1, Costa Rica 0
Mexico 1, Honduras 0
Matchday 9 â€“ Oct. 10, 2009
Costa Rica 4, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Mexico 4, El Salvador 1
Honduras 2, United States 3
United States vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. ET
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico, 8 p.m. ET
El Salvador vs. Honduras, 8 p.m. ET
TIE-BREAKERS: With the end of qualifying looming, now is a good time to refresh the system of tiebreakers used to separate teams in the standings. The ranking in each hexagonal is determined as follows:
- greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
- goal difference in all group matches;
- greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:
- greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
- goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
- greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
- drawing of lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee.
ELITE GROUP: With its victory on Saturday the USA became the 19th team to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A look at who else will be joining the U.S. in South Africa and the confederation they're coming from:
Host Country: South Africa
AFC â€“ Asia (43 teams, 4.5 berths): Australia, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic
CAF â€“ Africa (53 teams, 5 berths): Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana
CONCACAF â€“ North America, Central America, Carribean (35 teams, 3.5 beths): Mexico, USA
CONMEBOL â€“ South America (10 teams, 4.5 berths): Brazil, Chile, Paraguay
UEFA â€“ Europe (53 teams, 13 berths): Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain
Of these teams, only the USA, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and Korea Republic have participated in all six World Cup since 1990.
- The U.S. comes to Washington, D.C. with 22 players. No roster additions were made following the game against Honduras.
- The U.S. departed Honduras immediately after the game Saturday, landing stateside just after 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
- There are no suspensions for either team heading into Wednesday's game.
- Many U.S. players have picked up yellow cards during the qualifying process, but following Saturday's game those cards are meaningless. Only a suspension following a red card in the final match of qualifying would carry over to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- The U.S. has a lifetime record of 11-11-5 against Costa Rica. Since 1995, the USA is 7-0-2 against Costa Rica at home and 4-0-1 in World Cup qualifying stateside.
- The U.S. is 8-0-0 at home overall in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, having outscored opponents 28-3.
- The match against Honduras marked the fourth time in nine qualifiers the U.S. surrendered the first goal. In those four matches, however, the U.S. has earned 10 of their 19 points, with three come-from-behind wins and one come-from-behind tie.
- Since 1990 the USA is 12-3-3 at RFK Stadium, with the most recent win coming earlier this year against Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup first round.
- Six players on the roster played in that game. Steve Cherundolo captained the side, Charlie Davies grabbed an assist on the winning goal (scored by DC United's Santino Quaranta). Forward Brian Ching also got on the scoresheet in the 2-0 victory. Robbie Rogers played 90 minutes while Benny Feilhaber and Kenny Cooper came on as second half subsitutes.
- The last World Cup qualifier at RFK Stadium took place in late 2008, when the USA beat Cuba 6-1 to earn passage to the final round of qualifying. Seven players on the U.S. roster for Wednesday's game started in the win.
- Among the scorers that day were Ching, Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu. Landon Donovan had an assist on DaMarcus Beasley's winning goal, while JosÃ© Francisco Torres made his international debut as a second half sub.
- With his goal in the 2-1 win against El Salvador on Sept. 5 in Sandy, Utah, Altidore remained the USAâ€™s leading scorer in the 2010 qualifying cycle with six goals. Dempsey and Donovan, who most recently scored the winning goal against Honduras, are tied for second place on five goals.
- Ricardo Clark scored his first World Cup qualifying goal in the USA's victory against Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 9. The midfielder's 25-yard drive proved to be the game-winning goal in Port-of-Spain that delivered the U.S. their first road win in the final round.
- Donovan, the USA's all-time assists leader with 42 total, set up Conor Casey's second goal against Honduras. It was the fourth consecutive game in World Cup qualifying where he has lent a hand, having served up assists to Ricardo Clark in the win against Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 9, and Dempsey and Altidore in the win against El Salvador on Sept. 5. Before that Donovanâ€™s slide rule pass set up Charlie Daviesâ€™ goal against Mexico on Aug. 12 at Estadio Azteca.
- Donovan has contributed to 12 of the USAâ€™s 17 goals in the final round of qualifying, tallying three goals and nine assists.
- Donovan now has 10 assists in 2009. That mark breaks Cobi Jonesâ€™ record of nine in one calendar year for the United States.
- Michael Bradley, Bocanegra, and Donovan have started 14 out of 17 qualifiers this cycle. Donovan has the most minutes in qualifying (1,250), with Bocanegra (1,240) and Bradley (1,235) close behind.
- Stuart Holden made his first start in World Cup qualifying on Saturday against Honduras. The winger played 90 minutes during the USAâ€™s 3-2 victory before being replaced in second half injury time by Steve Cherundolo.
- Tim Howard, who earned the Golden Glove award in South Africa as the tournamentâ€™s best goalkeeper, has eight shutouts in 14 career World Cup qualifiers. Howard has three clean sheets during this cycle's final round of World Cup qualifying.
- Howard earned his 29th career win against Honduras. Last month the USA number one surpassed Brad Friedel (27) and gained sole possession of third all-time behind Kasey Keller (53) and Tony Meola (37).
- In 13 games in 2009, Altidore has recorded six goals without registering an assist, the most goals without a helper since Frank Klopas scored eight times without adding an assist to his stat sheet in 1994.
- Matchday 9 is proving to be a talismanic date on the calendar for the U.S. Men's National Team: the MNT has qualified for the World Cup in the second-to-last game in three of the last four cycles.
In the 2006 cycle, the U.S. booked their ticket in the seventh game of the 10-match round-robin, earning a comprehensive 2-0 win against Mexico on Sept. 3, 2005, in Columbus.
Average Age: 26.1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Average Caps: 33.2
Most Caps: 119 (Landon Donovan)Â Â Â Â Fewest Caps: 6 (Clarence Goodson, Robbie Rogers, JosÃ© Francisco Torres)
Oldest: 35 (Frankie Hejduk)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Youngest: 19 (Jozy Altidore)
Play professionally in: USA (9), England (4), Germany (3), France (2), Denmark (1), Italy (1), Mexico (1), Norway (1)
FAMILIAR FOES: Honduras proved a frequent foil for Bob Bradley's side during a year with a record-setting 22 games for the U.S. Men's National Team. Saturday's memorable win for the U.S. marked the fourth time the teams met in international competitions in 2009, a record for a United States opponent. USA's four game sweep of Honduras belies four extremely difficult games for Bob Bradley's men. Both games in World Cup qualifying required come-from-behind victories in front of raucous crowds both home and away.
2009 U.S. Games against Honduras
|Date||CompetitionÂ||ResultÂ||U.S. Goal ScorersÂ||VenueÂ|
|June 6||2010 FIFA World Cup QualifyingÂ||2-1 WÂ||Donovan, BocanegraÂ||Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.Â|
|July 8||2009 CONCACAF Gold CupÂ||2-0 WÂ||Quaranta, ChingÂ||RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.Â|
|July 23||2009 CONCACAF Gold CupÂ||2-0 WÂ||Goodson, CooperÂ||Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.Â|
|Oct. 10||2010 FIFA World Cup QualifyingÂ||3-2 WÂ||Casey (2), DonovanÂ||Estadio Olimpico; SanÂ Pedro Sula, HondurasÂ|
GAME-WINNERS: With his goal against El Salvador, Jozy Altidore became the fourth U.S. player to record multiple game-winning goals in this World Cup cycle. Michael Bradley has a pair of game-winners to his credit, including the brilliant flick against T & T on Sept. 10, 2008, in the 3-0 win in Bridgeview, Ill., and both goals in the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 11 in Columbus. Carlos Bocanegra headed home the lone goal in the 1-0 win on Aug. 20, 2008, at Guatemala to open the semifinal round, then repeated the feat to help the U.S. past Honduras on June 6 in Chicago. Clint Dempsey recorded two game-winning goals in World Cup qualifying last year â€“ against Barbados on June 15, 2008, in Carson, Calif., and in the 1-0 win on Sept. 6, 2008, in Cuba. Overall, nine U.S. scorers have GWG next to their name on the scoresheet in this cycle.
RALLY CAPS: The USA has come from behind to win three games in the final round of World Cup qualifying, most recently against Honduras in San Pedro Sula. Bob Bradley's team has also rallied to earn three points in two consecutive home qualifiers. On June 6 in Chicago, goals by Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra nullified an early Honduras strike by Carlo Costly, while on Sept. 5 goals from Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore helped the USA snag all three points against El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The U.S. staged a different kind of comeback on March 28 in El Salvador when Frankie Hejduk had a goal and an assist to earn a 2-2 draw at Estadio Cuzcatlan.
DEJA VU â€“ HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF: The road to South Africa came to a climax in spectacular fashion on Saturday night, with the USA qualifying for the 2010 World Cup after a tortuous night in San Pedro Sula. Matchday 9 of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan was filled with some similarly amazing twists and turns that came together to send the U.S. team to Asia.Â Revisit an exciting day of qualifying from eight years ago with ussoccer.com's look at the culmination of the road to the 2002 World Cup.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: If you have ever discounted the importance of winning games at home, the CONCACAF 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying standings should make you sit up and take notice. Mexico finished its home slate of games a perfect 9-0-0, a feat the USA can match on Wednesday. Costa Rica and Honduras, however, are 8-1-0, with the key losses, to Mexico and the U.S. respectively. Those losses mean Costa Rica and Honduras are left needing an away result in the final game to ensure they have any chance of sewing up the final automatic berth to the World Cup.
DONOVAN SNATCHES ANOTHER RECORD: Landon Donovan holds numerous records for the U.S. Men's National Team, and in September he set another. Donovan surpassed former teammates and national team standouts Kasey Keller, Eddie Pope, and Claudio Reyna when he started against El Salvador on Sept. 5, and took his total appearances in World Cup qualifying to 34 when he played the full 90 minutes against Honduras on Oct. 10.
World Cup Qualifying All-Time Appearances
LD 20/20: Landon Donovan's goal and assist in Saturday's win against Honduras took him to 20 points on the year. Donovan previously joined an elite group of players, including Cobi Jones, Eric Wynalda and Joe-Max Moore, when he reached the mark with his record-setting year in 2007. In 2009 Donovan becomes the first player to reach the 20 point platform twice in his career.
U.S. Men's National Team 20-Point Years
GAME NO. 22 ON THE WORLD TOUR: Wednesday's match represents the 22nd international for the U.S. team in 2009, and the 21st game in official competition, which is already the most ever in a calendar year (the previous record was 16 in 2005). The U.S. holds a record of 13-6-2, scoring 40 goals, surrendering 30, and earning eight shutouts with three different goalkeepers. There have been four games against teams in the top 10 in the world (Spain, Brazil twice, and Italy), the first erasure of a two-goal deficit to earn at least a point in 13 years (against El Salvador in March), two come-from-behind wins at home (against Honduras and El Salvador), and consecutive appearances in international tournament finals (FIFA Confederations Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup). Of course the capstone of this memorable year was likely the come-from-behind victory against Honduas on the road to clinch qualification for South Africa.
INTO THE NEXT 50: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 53 games under his belt, seeing 85 different players at least once and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 coming to its conclusion on Wednesday, a review of the body of work during the past nearly-three years points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Bradleyâ€™s 31 victories in 50 games outdistanced his predecessor Bruce Arena, who had collected 25 victories at that point in his tenure. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:
- produced the best finish ever at a FIFA tournament, finishing second at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
- won six straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a row in 2008, a new team record (June 15-Oct. 15).
- won the CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2007 to qualify for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
- won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on June 15, 2008).
- won back-to-back games in Europe for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007 @ Switzerland and March 26, 2008 @ Poland).
- won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007 @ Switzerland, Nov. 17, 2007 @ South Africa and March 26, 2008 @ Poland).
- played seven matches against four teams ranked in the top five in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil-3, Italy, Spain-2).
- played matches on four continents.
- posted 1-1-1 record against No. 1-ranked teams, including a semifinal upset of Spain at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
THE BRADLEY BREAKDOWN
Gold Cup: 10-1-1
Goals For: 101
Goals Against: 59
Record vs. â€¦
CONCACAF: 24-4-4, 63 GF, 28 GA
CONMEBOL: 1-6-1, 9 GF, 19 GA
UEFA: 6-4-0, 15 GF, 10 GA
AFC: 1-0-0, 4 GF, 1 GA
CAF: 2-0-0, 4 GF, 0 GA
Record when â€¦
Leading at half: 21-2-2
Losing at half: 2-4-1
Tied at half: 11-8-2
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Conor Casey became the USA's 16th different scorer in 2010 World Cup qualifying when he netted twice against Honduras on Oct. 10. Jozy Altidore (6) leads all U.S. scorers in World Cup qualifying, with Clint Dempsey (5) and Landon Donovan (5) right behind him. Michael Bradley (4), Brian Ching (4) have found the net with some frequency, while Carlos Bocanera (2), Charlie Davies (2) and DaMarcus Beasley (2) have also registered multiple goals. Also on the score sheet with one goal each are Freddy Adu, Ricardo Clark, Kenny Cooper, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Johnson, Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Lewis, who made his goal count as the game-winner on June 22, 2008, against Barbados.
NINETEEN FIND THE NET: Casey's double salvo on Oct. 10 made him the record 19th different player to score in 2009, good for a U.S. Men's National Team record. The tally in 2009 beats the previous record of 18 set by the U.S. team in 1993 and matched in 2000. Here's a look at all the players who have found the net so far this year:
Unique U.S. Goalscorers in 2009
*For players who have scored multiple goals, this list only includes the first time they scored in 2009.
Sacha Kljestan (vs. Sweden, Jan. 24)
Michael Bradley (vs. Mexico, Feb. 11)
Jozy Altidore and Frankie Hejduk (vs. El Salvador, March 28)
Landon Donovan (vs. Costa Rica, June 3)
Carlos Bocanegra (vs. Honduras, June 6)
Charlie Davies and Clint Dempsey (vs. Egypt, June 21)
Freddy Adu, Stuart Holden and Robbie Rogers (vs. Grenada, July 4)
Santino Quaranta and Brian Ching (vs. Honduras, July 8)
Davy Arnaud (vs. Haiti, July 11, 2009)
Kyle Beckerman and Kenny Cooper (vs. Panama, July 18)
Clarence Goodson (vs. Honduras, July 23)
Ricardo Clark (vs. Trinidad & Tobago, Sept. 9)
Conor Casey (vs. Honduras, Oct. 10)
BY THE NUMBERS: U.S. IN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
0 â€“ Losses at home in qualifying under Bob Bradley
4 â€“ Players on the current roster who played last time the USA met Costa Rica at home in WCQ: Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Donovan, and Hejduk
6 â€“ Goals by Jozy Altidore in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, good for the team lead
9 â€“ Total clean sheets kept by Tim Howard and Brad Guzan out of 15 games
12 - Goals for Landon Donovan in World Cup qualifying, the USA's all-time leader
42 â€“ Players with at least one appearance in 2010 World Cup qualifying
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: Keep up with all U.S. Menâ€™s National Team news (in short form, of course) by following at www.twitter.com/ussoccer.
BE OFFICIAL WHEN YOUâ€™RE WATCHING: Whatâ€™s the next best thing to being at a game surrounded by your fellow screaming fans? Watching a game at an Official U.S. Soccer Bar surrounded by your fellow screaming fans! Bars across the U.S. are becoming the destination spots to gather and watch your U.S. teams in an atmosphere that is loud and rowdy. Head to an Official U.S. Soccer Bar on Wednesday as the USA concludes World Cup qualifying against Costa Rica. A full list of Official U.S. Soccer Bars is available at ussoccer.com.
U.S. SOCCER ON FACEBOOK: U.S. Soccer is offering a new way to follow its teams with the â€œOfficial U.S. Soccer Pageâ€ on Facebook. Visit the page to post videos, interact with other fans and follow the latest news from all U.S. Soccer teams. The new Official U.S. Soccer Page on Facebook is the best place to keep with your favorite teams and make your voice heard in the U.S. Soccer community.
THE GAME IS IN US: Support for United States' bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 has picked up some serious steam since the launch of http://gousabid.com. Twelve other nations are bidding to host at least one of the tournaments and if we're going to win the honor of hosting the FIFA World Cupâ„¢, it'll be because of the overwhelming grassroots support of soccer fans who believe in our bid's official theme, The Game Is In US. Please take a moment to sign the petition to officially show your support for the US bid to bring the World Cupâ„¢ back to America.
IN FOCUS: COSTA RICA
COSTA RICA FACT FILE
FederaciÃ³n Costarricense de FÃºtbol
Founded: 1921 (Joined FIFA in 1927)
Head Coach: RenÃ© SimÃµes
Best World Cup Finish: Second Round, 1990
Best CONCACAF Gold Cup Finish: Finalist, 2002
Caps Leader: Walter Centeno (131)
Top Scorer: Rolando Fonseca (47)
Key Players: Walter Centeno, Bryan Ruiz, Alvoro Saborio
UP AND DOWN: The last time Costa Rica met the United States, Los Ticos were flying high. Costa Rica was setting the pace in the hexagonal standings, with four wins in their opening five games, including a 3-1 victory against the USA at Estadio Saprissa. The second half of the hexagonal has been much less kind to the Central American side, with three defeats in a row coinciding with a slide down the table. After a brutal double-fixture date last month which included losses to Mexico and El Salvador, Rodrigo Kenton was fired as head coach, with Brazilian RenÃ© SimÃµes taking his place. In his first game at the helm SimÃµes engineered a 4-0 win against already-eliminated Trinidad & Tobago on Matchday 9 but he'll need a monumental effort from his players on Wednesday if Costa Rica want to be sure of sealing CONCACAF's third and final automatic berth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
CALLING 'EM IN: SimÃµes traveled to the United States with a roster of 20 players. Los Ticos are a dynamic attacking group, led by dangerous strikers Bryan Ruiz and Alvoro Saborio. Both have notched four goals in World Cup qualifying, with Saborio opening the scoring during June's 3-1 victory in San Jose. Since last time around both players have also changed clubs, with Ruiz trading Gent for Champions League football at FC Twente and Saborio testing the waters in England with a loan move to Bristol City. Defense has been the problem for Costa Rica, particularly during recent times when the team has given up nine goals in the past four World Cup qualifiers. The backline will have to be at its strongest against a USA team which leads the Final Round in scoring with 17 goals.
Costa Rica Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ricardo Gonzalez (Herediano), Kaylor Navas (Saprissa)
DEFENDERS (6): Junior Diaz (Wisla Krakow), Pablo Herrera (Aalesund), Luis Main (Alajuelense), Dennis Marshall (Aalborg BK), Cristian Montero (Herediano), Michael Umana (Liberia)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Armando Alonso (Saprissa), Randall Azofeifa (Gent), Michael Barrantes (Saprissa), Cristian Bolanos (IK Start), Walter Centeno (Saprissa), Christian Oviedo (Alajuelense), Douglas Sequeira (Saprissa), Esteban Sirias (Liberia)
FORWARDS (4): Rolando Fonseca (Communicaciones), Victor Nunez (Liberia), Bryan Ruiz (Twente), Alvoro Saborio (Bristol City)
On the field for USA in World Cup qualifying
Sept. 9, 2009 â€“ Estadio Olimpico, San Pedro Sula, Honduras â€“ 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Final Round, Matchday 9
USAÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Conor Casey 55, 66, Landon Donovan 71
HondurasÂ Â Â Â Â 2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Julio Cesar de Leon 47, 78
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 12-Jonathan Bornstein; 7-Stuart Holden (6-Steve Cherundolo, 90+3), 13-Ricardo Clark, 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Landon Donovan; 9-Charlie Davies (17-Jozy Altidore, 79), 8-Conor Casey (16-Benny Feilhaber, 84)
Subs not used: 11-Kenny Cooper, 14-Jose Torres, 15-Jimmy Conrad, 18-Brad Guzan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
HON: 18-Noel Valladares; 16-Mauricio Sabillon, 2-Osman Chavez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 12-Emilio Izaguirre; 17-Edgard Alvarez (11-David Suazo, 64), 6-Hendry Thomas (7-Ramon Nunez, 75), 8-Wilson Palacios, 10-Julio Cesar de Leon (15-Walter Martinez, 80); 13-Carlo Costly, 9-Carlos Pavon
Subs not used: 1-Ricardo Canales, 5-Erick Norales, 14-Boniek Garcia, 4-Melvin Valladares,
Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda
On the field for Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying
Oct. 10, 2009 â€“ Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, San Jose, Costa Rica â€“ 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Final Round, Matchday 9
Costa RicaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4Â Â Â Â Radanfah Abu Bakr (own goal) 27, Walter Centeno 50, Alvaro Saborio 61, 63
Trinidad & TobagoÂ Â Â Â 0
CRC: 1-Kelor Navas; 4-Christian Montero, 3-Luis Marin, 5-Dennis Marshall; 17-Pablo Herrera, 14-Randall Azofeifa, 10-Walter Centeno (13-Cristian Bolanos, 66), 6-Michael Barrantes, 2-Esteban Sirias; 9-Alvaro Saborio, 11-Bryan Ruiz (7-Rolando Fonseca, 58)
Subs not used: 0-Leonardo Gonzalez, 12-Douglas Sequeira, 16-Armando Alonso, 18-Ricardo Gonzalez
Head Coach: RenÃ© Simoes
TRI: 1-Marvin Phillip; 2-Clyde Leon, 3-Julius James, 5-Radanfah Abu Bakr, 7-Kern Cupid; 11-Carlos Edwards, 4-Jake Thomson, 8-Trent Noel (15-Devon Jorsling, 77), 12-Keon Daniel (10-Hayden Tinto, 63); 14-Kerry Baptiste (6-Dennis Lawrence, 70), 17-Kenwyne Jones
Subs not used: 9-Hector Hughton, 13-Juma Clarence, 16-Densill Theobald, 18-Jan-Michael Williams
Head Coach: Russell Latapy
On the field vs. Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying
June 3, 2009 â€“ Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, San Jose, Costa Rica â€“ 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Final Round, Matchday 5
USAÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â Landon Donovan 90+2 (penalty)
Costa RicaÂ Â Â 3Â Â Â Â Alvaro Saborio 2, Celso Borges 13, Pablo Herrera 69
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Marvell Wynne, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 4-Pablo Mastroeni (11-Freddy Adu, 63), 12-Michael Bradley, 9-JosÃ© Francisco Torres (16-Sacha Kljestan, 46); 8-Clint Dempsey (15-Charlie Davies, 80), 10-Landon Donovan, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 18-Brad Guzan, 2-Ricardo Clark, 13-Jonathan Bornstein, 14-Jay DeMerit
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
CRC: 1-Keylor Navas; 15-Harold Wallace (2-Pablo Herrera, 56), 4-Michael Umana, 3-Freddy Fernandez, 17-Junior Diaz; 7-Andy Herron (6-Cristian Bolanos, 72), 5-Celso Borges, 10-Walter Centeno, 8-Esteban Sirias; 11-Bryan Ruiz, 9-Alvaro Saborio (16-Carlos Hernandez, 77)
Subs not used: 18-Ricardo Gonzalez, 12-Andy Furtado, 13-Gonzalo Segares, 14-Armando Alonso
Head Coach: Rodrigo Kenton
On the field at RFK Stadium in World Cup qualifying:
Oct. 11, 2008 â€“ RFK Satdium, Washington, D.C. â€“ 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Semifinal Round, Matchday 4
USAÂ Â Â Â Â Â 6Â Â Â DaMarcus Beasley 10, 30, Landon Donovan 48, Brian Ching 63, Jozy Altidore 87, Oguchi Onyewu 90
CubaÂ Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Jenzy MuÃ±oz 32
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.),15-Heath Pearce (4-JosÃ© Francisco Torres, 68); 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 12-Michael Bradley 16-Sacha Kljestan (17- Freddy Adu, 76); 8-Clint Dempsey, 10-Landon Donovan; 11-Brian Ching (9-Jozy Altidore, 68)
Subs Not Used: 18-Brad Guzan, 2-Frankie Hejduk, 13-Maurice Edu, 14-Danny Califf
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
CUB: 12-OdelÃn Molina; 6-Yoel ColomÃ©, 16-Reysander FernÃ¡ndez, 3-Yeniel MÃ¡rquez, 2-Silvio MiÃ±oso; 14-Jaime ColomÃ© (8-Alianas Urgelles, 72), 5-JosÃ© Luis Clavelo (capt.), 7-Luis Villegas (13-Carlos Domingo, 46), 9-Alain Cervantes, 11-Jenzy MuÃ±oz (10-Mario Ruiz, 80), 15-Leonel Duarte
Subs not used: 1-Danis Quintero, 4-Yosvani Caballeros
Head Coach: Reinhold Franz