Editorial (July 10, 2017) – The Costa Rica Men’s National team won their first match of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Friday. The defeated Central American rival Honduras. Several MLS-based players played big roles.
MLS Players Impressing For Costa Rica In The 2017 Gold Cup
Los Ticos won the match 1-0 on a first half goal from San Jose Earthquakes forward Marco Ureña. New York City FC’s Rodney Wallace had the assist. But they weren’t the only MLS players to show their value. Five MLSers started in this match, including three of the four midfielders. The other one was Bryan Ruiz. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell was on the bench. Not too shabby.
Let’s start off with the goal scorer. Ureña is still getting used to his Quakes teammates, but with his other San Jose teammates (as in San Jose, Costa Rica), he’s been comfortable. The 27-year-old has 11 goals in 41 appearances. Ureña isn’t the most dangerous forward, but he challenged the backline. That helped disrupt the shape, leaving room for Ruiz and Wallace on the wing.
And that’s what helped create the goal. Rodney Wallace was able to get into space then deliver a ball perfectly inside the box. Neither Honduran centerback looked over their shoulder. Ureña split them perfectly and finished the play off. Wallace and Ruiz were forces all game long. This Gold Cup is a massive opportunity for Rodney Wallace. If he plays well, he could increase his stock for the remaining Hexagonal matches and possibly the World Cup next summer.
Costa Rica’s up tempo play helped them earn 9 corners on the match. Portland Timber David Guzmán took 8 of the 9, helping to start several waves of pressure. They couldn’t capitalize on any of their chances and will look to improve that going forward. Guzmán did good work defensively as well.
Minnesota United FC players Johan Venegas and Francisco Calvo also started the match. They weren’t standouts but put in a decent shift, both of them. Honduras had several good chances on the counter that went down Calvo’s side of the field. Honduras very much could have gotten a 1-1 draw in this game. Costa Rica will look to sure things up ahead of their next games.
Los Ticos are certainly not a favorite to win the tournament. But they showed in this match that Costa Rica in the 2017 Gold Cup will be a tough out for even Mexico or the United States. The MLS-based players will make sure of that.