Friday, October 07, 2005

US MNT prepare for Costa Rica

After a crazy adventure getting to Costa Rica, it involved an unplanned night in Panama, the US Men's team is in final preparations for the WCQ tomorrow night.

The team Bruce Area fields will have some familiar faces (DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Lewis, etc.) but will also allow some not so well know, on the international scene, players to get a chance (Wade Barrett, Danny Califf, Santino Quaranta, Taylor Twellman, etc).

Yes this game means little to the US in terms of positioning, but this will be a high-pressure match. The US has not allowed a WCQ goal since March 27, but they have also never won in Costa Rica (0-5-1). Costa Rica needs a win to get the third automatic pass to Germany. With this in mind, they have called up some of their best talent. Expect to hear the names Paulo Wanchope and Ronald Gomez a lot on Saturday. So this will be no walk in the park for the red, white and blue.

It will be interesting to see how the side holds up under all this pressure. Saprissa Stadium will be loud and, perhaps, very wet. Add that to the artificial turf and you've got a real test on your hands. The Ticos want this game bad. Being able to say they clinched a spot by taking down America would make they so very happy (like, I don't know, the US being able to say they beat Mexico to get in).

For the US to win, or tie, they need a good showing by their vets, but they also need Twellman and Quaranta to bring their game. Without some help from the new kids, it will be a very bad night.

A couple last moment facts to think about. First, Tim Howard (pictured) will have his appearance in goal for the US in 2005. Arena is still not 100% on him as number 2 between the posts, so Howard has something to prove. Finally, since Arena has taken over as coach, they have only one once when they were behind at halftime (1-13-4). That one victory was against Costa Rica in the 2003 Gold Cup.

Prediction: Costa Rica 2 - 2 US



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