The USA take on Costa Rica tonight (6:55 p.m., ESPN) in their effort to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This match up has been historically close with each team having 15 wins a piece along with 5 draws. The last time they played was just over a month ago in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals, where the USA scored two late goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to win, 2-0. This game will feature many different players than that game, most notably for the U.S. is Christian Pulisic. Here’s a look at how our staff thinks the match will play out:
USA 2 - Costa Rica 0 (Dempsey, Altidore)
History repeats itself. The USMNT needs a win and they'll get it. Bruce Arena will trot out his usual Diamond/4-1-3-2 and dominate the game. Jozy will grab a goal before halftime and Deuce will come off the bench to finally break the goal record. Three points need, three points gained.
USA 2 - Costa Rica 1 (Pulisic, Wondolowski, Watson)
The U.S. goes up early after Christian Pulisic runs through the Costa Rica defense like a stag bounding through a forest and slots home a goal. Los Ticos equalize on a corner kick when nobody remembers to guard Kendall Waston and everyone wonders why Tim Ream is starting at center back. Chris Wondolowski comes on late and taps home a loose ball for the winner.
USA #Freedom - Costa Rica #NotEnoughFreedomToWin
I don’t know enough about Costa Rica to make a real prediction. Anyways, I think the US gets out of here with all three points, unless Arena subs on Zardes. NEVER. PLAY. ZARDES.
USA 2 - Costa Rica 0 (Pulisic 2x)
I'm bad at predicting outcomes but I'm confident on one thing, the USMNT will not play like they did in San Jose back in November.
USA 2 - Costa Rica 1 (Pulisic, Dempsey, Ruiz)
After the embarrassing loss that ended the Klinsmann era, the Nats have the opportunity to get revenge and strengthen their qualifying position. Look for a solid performance in front of a moderately supportive crowd at Red Bull Arena.