The Semper Soccer Blog USA vs. Costa Rica 2017 Gold Cup Preview
In just a couple weeks, the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup field whittled its way down to four teams. The United States is among the teams still standing at the semi final stage. It hasn’t been easy or pretty thus far. Coaches, players and fans alike voiced displeasure over the way the USMNT has been winning games. There’s no doubt this team hasn’t played up to its full potential yet, but at least they’ve won. As the old cliche goes, survive and advance. They’ll have to do much better to advance once more as The Ticos await. This is the Semper Soccer blog’s USA vs. Costa Rica 2017 Gold Cup preview.
Last Time Out
The United States triumphed in a weird game against El Salvador. They didn’t dominate the match from end to end but they also never looked like they were in danger of losing. In fact, the 2-0 win could have been larger but Gyasi Zares was incorrectly ruled offside on what would have been the game’s opening goal. Despite the defense being pressured early, the Stars & Stripes tallied two goals before halftime. The first was on a picture-perfect free kick by Michael Bradley that Omar Gonzalez nodded home in the 41st minute. Two minutes in first-half stoppage time, Clint Dempsey found right back Eric Lichaj running free into the El Salvador penalty area. Lichaj took one deft touch and slotted the ball home through the legs of El Salvador goalkeeper Derby Carrillo.
The game also featured some nervy moments as it turned chippy. Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore were bitten by El Salvador players in two separate incidents while Altidore was also subject to some strategic pinching by Henry Romero.
Meanwhile, Costa Rica slogged through a 1-0 win over Panama with the lone goal coming from a Panama player putting the ball in his own net. The match itself was relatively uneventful. Chances were few and far between. It even appeared the two teams were headed for a shootout to determine a winner until the 77th minute. Panama’s Anibal Goodoy got his head to Costa Rica free kick but flicked it into his own net. Goodoy’s own goal stood up as the only tally of the match and the Ticos advanced to the semifinals.
The USA vs. Costa Rica 2017 Gold Cup Preview Projected Lineup
Bruce Arena’s lineup rotations have been downright unpredictable throughout this tournament. No matter the stakes, Arena proved he will rotate and rest his players to keep them fresh moving forward. But this is Costa Rica in the semifinals. The USA is two wins away from Gold Cup glory and it’s time to lay it all on the table.
This lineup reflects the usual 4-4-2 the United States plays. The fullback rotation stays in place since Justin Morrow and Eric Licaj started the last game, it’s Jorge Villafaña and Graham Zusi’s turn. This center back pairing is made up of the two who have played the best so far this tournament. Finally, the rest of the lineup plugs in the best performers and trusted names on the roster.
The USA vs. Costa Rica 2017 Gold Cup Preview Prediction
Costa Rica represents the toughest test for the United States so far this summer. They’re a team that generally gives the USMNT plenty of trouble. This Ticos squad is dealing with a number of injuries right now and did struggle to get past Panama. The United States didn’t flat out dominate El Salvador, but their 2-0 win was far more comfortable that Costa Rica’s. Since returning to the U.S. squad, Bruce Arena is undefeated with this team. This is the time to ride the hot hand. The Semper Soccer blog is picking the United States to get back to the Gold Cup final. Our pick: 2-1, USA.
How To Watch
Date/Time: July 22, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central
TV: Fox Sports 1, Univision
Watch Parties: Find your local American Outlaws chapter and enjoy the game together.
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