After a gut wrenching defeat to Mexico in front of a ruckus Ohio crowd, the United States Men’s National Team heads to a country where they have never won. In nine trips to Costa Rica, the USA has only gained a result once. That was a draw back in 1985. Tonight, they head to Estadio National de Costa Rica looking to end a streak not unlike the one they just saw taken from them by their greatest rivals.
What do the pundits here at Last Word on Soccer think will happen tonight?
USMNT vs. Costa Rica- The LWOS Experts Make Their Predictions
The USA will be desperate for anything on a difficult trip to Central America, that’s for sure. No player will be holding back as they know a loss here puts their chances of making the World Cup in jeopardy. The determining factor of this game very well could be Jurgen Klinsmann’s tactical decisions. If he sticks with the conventional formula that led his side to a fourth place Copa America finish, his chances of earning at least a point increase dramatically. If the Mexico match was any indication, this is no time for experimental tactics that haven’t seen any successful game action. If Klinsmann decides to whip out another three man back line, then we could be in for a long night. Regardless, I think a draw is the best they can come up with here.
After the tactical disaster that was Friday night’s loss against Mexico, the hopes are that they’ll finally get it together. It does help that 2/3 most difficult matches of the Hex are out of the way. They need to get back to what works. The 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 they showed in Copa America and qualifying earlier this year is where they need to be. A 3-4-3 was not it. If Jurgen can quell his itch to tinker and overthink this match, they just might pull of a shock win in Costa Rica. If he gambles though, they most likely will lose, just like they do every other time he gambles. So the prediction depends. If they’re in any other formation than a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 they’ll lose. If they get in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, they have the quality to win.
USMNT need to get all three points at Costa Rica, a difficult task. In order to win, they need to play four at the back and two strikers. The best formation for this is a 4-4-2. Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood looked strong against Mexico. Imagine what they can do with Sacha Kljestan behind them. The four man midfield should go Christian Pulisic–Michael Bradley-Kljestan-Alejandro Bedoya. The defense should go Fabian Johnson-John Brooks-Omar Gonzalez-DeAndre Yedlin. Brad Guzan will most likely be in goal and it will be interesting to see how he performs given the lack of playing time at the club level.
Mexico exposed the US defense on Friday night by playing wide and Costa Rica is likely to capitalize on that if Klinsmann plays another 3-5-2. It’s time to shore up the defense and play conservatively. A flat four in the back with Jermaine Jones and Bradley holding in front of them with the freedom to push up when opportunities arise. Assuming that adjustment shores up the defense, things should go favorably for the USMNT. The win comes down to the abilities of Altidore, Wood, and Pulisic to create chances against a tough CRC defense.
The USMNT heads into one its historically difficult fixtures Tuesday night at Costa Rica in 2018 World Cup Qualifying. After a 2-1 loss against Mexico on Friday night, the Stars and Stripes will need to respond in a positive way to avoid two losses to open up The Hex. Tim Howard’s injury against El Tri puts Brad Guzan back in the starting line-up to face a strong Costa Rica attack. Manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to utilize a three-man backline brought about an awkward and ineffective approach from the US. Expect to see a return to a 4-4-2 formation on Tuesday against Los Ticos. Ultimately, Costa Rica will continue their strong home form versus the US in a 2-1 victory.
There you have it. Catch all the action starting at 9:05pm on beIN Sports.