PREVIEW: USMNT Aims to Finish October World Cup Qualifying Matches on High Note vs. Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio

USA Sits in Second Place in Octagonal Standings After Five Matches, Including Three Away Games; Wednesday’s Kickoff from Field Set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN+, UniMas and TUDN

CHICAGO (Oct. 12, 2021) - Currently in second place through five games of the Octagonal gauntlet, the U.S. Men’s National Team returns to Columbus, Ohio to take on Costa Rica in its final match of the October international window. USA-Costa Rica, presented by Volkswagen, is the third match in seven days this month and sixth of 14 during Concacaf’s Final Round of World Cup qualifying.


Kickoff from Field is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN+, UniMas and TUDN. (pregame coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET). Fans can follow the USMNT during World Cup qualifying on Twitter (@USMNT), Instagram (@USMNT), Facebook and the official U.S. Soccer App.





GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 23/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 12/0)


DEFENDERS (9): George Bello (Atlanta United; 5/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 14/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP; 13/1), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 16/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 13/2), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 68/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 19/2)


MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 42/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 19/1), Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 6/0), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED: 4/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 33/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 26/7), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 8/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 29/0)


FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 12/5), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 41/8), Matthew Hoppe (Mallorca/ESP; 5/1), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 3/3), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 15/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 64/14)





Time (ET)/Result

TV Info

Thursday, Oct. 7


Q2 Stadium; Austin, Texas

2-0 W

ESPN2, Univision, TUDN

Sunday, Oct. 10


Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama

0-1 L

Paramount+, Universo

Wednesday, Oct. 13

Costa Rica Field; Columbus, Ohio

7 p.m.



Three players: goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Antonee Robinson and midfielder Weston McKennie- traveled directly from Austin, Texas to Columbus for Wednesday’s match. Robinson and Steffen did not travel due to the quarantine requirements for those returning to the United Kingdom, while McKennie had experienced soreness in his right quadriceps. All three players will be available for selection against Costa Rica.


After two goals from teenage striker Ricardo Pepi boosted the USA to a strong 2-0 victory vs. Jamaica to open the October World Cup qualifying window, Panama spoiled the USMNT’s undefeated start to the Octagonal, topping the U.S. 1-0 on Sunday in Panama City. Both teams had trouble finding their rhythms on a slow, soggy surface at Estadio Rommel Fernández and Anibal Godoy headed in a corner kick service that proved to be the difference-maker just after the half. A number of second-half substitutes provided a spark for the U.S., but they weren’t able to net an equalizer down the stretch.


GAINING EXPERIENCE: Through five matches of World Cup qualifying, including three matches on the road, the USA sits in second in the Octagonal standings. Its eight points thus far have come with 21 players earning their World Cup qualifying debuts, already eclipsing the number from the entire 16 matches of the last cycle. Against Panama, two teenagers started for the USMNT in the third-straight match - this time, it was midfielder Yunus Musah (18) and defender George Bello (19).


FORTRESS COLUMBUS: The USMNT has a long, storied history in the Ohio capital as Columbus has played host to 12 matches, including 10 World Cup qualifiers since 2000. The USA has posted a 7-1-2 record in C-Bus in qualifying, highlighted by four “Dos a Cero” triumphs over Mexico. The seven qualifying wins in Columbus are the most by the USMNT in any city. Wednesday night marks the USA’s first match at the newly opened Field and is the first USA-Costa Rica match-up in the city since the USMNT’s first World Cup qualifier in Columbus, a 0-0 draw on Oct. 11, 2000.


Head coach Gregg Berhalter spent five seasons as sporting director and head coach of the Columbus Crew before joining U.S. Soccer in December 2018. He led the Crew to the playoffs in four of his five seasons in charge, including a trip to the 2015 MLS Cup Final.


COSTA RICA COMING OFF FIRST WIN: Costa Rica enters Wednesday’s match in fifth place in the Octagonal standings with six points through its opening five matches. Los Ticos are coming off their first win in World Cup qualifying- a 2-1 home triumph vs. El Salvador on Sunday. Despite falling behind early, Costa Rica rallied after the break with a goal from Bryan Ruiz and a penalty converted by Celso Borges. The victory marked Costa Rica’s first game with more than one goal in World Cup qualifying, as Los Ticos have netted just three times through five matches. In the first game of the October window, Costa Rica drew Honduras 0-0 in San Pedro Sula. 


THE OCTAGON: Teams qualify for the World Cup through their regional confederations, and the USMNT has to run the gauntlet of Concacaf (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) to reach Qatar 2022. For the first time, eight teams are contesting the final round of World Cup qualifying for Concacaf from September to March. The nations play a 14-match round-robin, home and away against each of the seven other teams.



Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the World Cup qualifying schedule has been condensed from 18 months to seven. To accommodate the new schedule, the USMNT has to play three matches during four of the five international windows rather than the usual two matches.


ONLY FORWARD/SOLO PA’LANTE: U.S. Soccer kicked off World Cup qualifying with the launch of “Only Forward,” / “Solo Pa’lante,” the USMNT’s creative campaign focused on uniting fans and the team in a collective journey to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.


Developed in conjunction with the players, coaches and staff, “Only Forward / Solo Pa’lante” highlights a young, diverse and global-minded Men’s National Team that is humble yet resilient as it looks to tackle the challenge of World Cup Qualifying during the next eight months. As the USMNT continues to gain valuable experience on the road to Qatar, it’s ready to show the world that they are prepared to change the way the world views American soccer.




  • Against Panama, midfielder Kellyn Acosta extended his consecutive games played streak to 19 matches dating back to the 6-0 win against El Salvador on Dec. 9, 2020. Acosta’s run of games is the most by a USMNT player since Landon Donovan played 35-straight matches from 2001-2003.

  • Matt Turner is the only U.S. player to play every minute of World Cup qualifying so far. Against Panama, Turner made his 11th consecutive USMNT appearance, the most by a USA goalkeeper since Brad Guzan played 12 consecutive matches from June 5-October 10, 2015. The record for consecutive matches by a USMNT goalkeeper is held by Tony Meola, who played 15-straight games from Dec. 19, 1990-Sept. 4, 1991.

  • Turner now has a 9-1-2 record in his 12 USMNT appearances, keeping clean sheets in eight matches while conceding only four goals.

  • Players hail from clubs in 10 different countries: USA (11), Spain (4), England (2), Italy (2), Germany (2), Austria (1), Belgium (1), France (1), Netherlands (1) and Turkey (1).

  • Seventeen players return from the September World Cup Qualifying camp.

  • Thirteen players are age 23 and younger: Weston McKennie (23); Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre and Mark McKenzie (22); Chris Richards and Tim Weah (21); Brenden Aaronson, Sergiño Dest and Matthew Hoppe (20); George Bello and Gianluca Busio (19); Yunus Musah and Ricardo Pepi (18).

  • Twenty-three players were part one of the USMNT’s championships during the summer: 10 participated in the Nations League and 13 in the Gold Cup, with Kellyn Acosta and Sebastian Lletget on both rosters.



  • The USA is 18-16-6 all-time against Costa Rica and 18-6-4 at home.

  • Most recently, the nations squared off following the USMNT’s Concacaf Nations League triumph for a friendly in Sandy, Utah. The USA won 4-0 as forward Brenden Aaronson netted his third career goal.

  • Aaronson and defender Mark McKenzie made their U.S. debuts vs. Costa Rica on Feb. 1, 2020, a 1-0 victory.

  • The U.S. is 6-11-2 vs. Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying, including a 6-2-1 record at home.

  • The USMNT faced Costa Rica in one of its most memorable home matches ever- the Snow Clasico in Commerce City, Colo. on March 22, 2013. Playing during a snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains, Clint Dempsey scored the USA’s lone goal for a 1-0 win.

  • The USA eliminated Costa Rica from contention to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa with a 2-2 draw in Washington, D.C. in Oct. 2009.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Aaron Cruz (Saprissa; 1/0), Leonel Moreira (Alajuelense; 20/0), Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 98/0)


DEFENDERS (10): Ricardo Blanco (Saprissa; 12/0), Francisco Calvo (Chicago Fire FC/USA; 64/7), Oscar Duarte (Levante/ESP; 63/2), Fernan Faerron (Alajuelense; 0/0), Keysher Fuller (Herediano; 19/1), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Alajuelense; 87/2), Ronald Matarrita (FC Cincinnati/USA; 47/3), Bryan Oviedo (Copenhangen/DEN; 66/2), Kendall Watson (Saprissa; 51/7), Juan Pablo Vargas (Millonarios/COL; 10/0)


MIDFIELDERS (9): Celso Borges (Alajuelense; 143/26), Luis Diaz (Columbus Crew; 8/0), Orlando Galo (Herediano; 2/0), Randall Leal (Nashville SC/USA; 24/0), Jimmy Marin (Saprissa; 10/1), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense; 136/28), Youstin Salas (Grecia; 0/0), Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano; 62/0), Johan Venegas (Alajuelense; 70/11)

FORWARDS (4): Cristian Bolaños (Saprissa; 17/8), Jonathan Moya (Anyang/KOR; 12/0), Alvaro Saborio (San Carlos; 111/36), Kenneth Vargas (Grecia; 0/0)




  • Costa Rica qualified for the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying as the third-ranked team in the region, claiming one of five automatic berths in the Octagon.

  • This summer, Costa Rica reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 Gold Cup after topping Group C with a perfect nine points. Los Ticos fell to Canada 2-0 in their lone knockout round match.

  • Seventeen players compete domestically in Costa Rica, including six from Alajuelense and five from Saprissa, two of the country’s most successful clubs. Costa Rica’s other players ply their trade in the USA (four), Colombia, Denmark, France, Korea Republic and Spain (one each).

  • Columbus Crew midfielder Luis Diaz will play in his club home stadium on Wednesday night and face off against his Crew teammate, U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes.

  • Midfielder Randall Leal is a teammate of U.S. defender Walker Zimmerman at Nashville SC.

  • Head coach Luis Fernando Suarez took charge of the team following its June loss to the USMNT in Utah. The Colombian brings 22 years of coaching experience and has led two different national teams to the FIFA World Cup- Ecuador in 2006 and Honduras in 2010.

  • Central America’s most successful team, Costa Rica has played in five FIFA World Cups, including four of the last five. Los Ticos made waves at Brazil 2014 by reaching the quarterfinals before falling in a penalty shootout to the Netherlands. At Russia 2018, Costa Rica finished fourth in its group, going 0-2-1.

  • Alongside the U.S. and Mexico, Costa Rica is one of three teams to participate in every Final Round of World Cup qualifying since 1998. Los Ticos never finished worse than fourth in six editions of the Hexagonal.