Saturday night’s semi-final in Arlington, Texas is the first real clash between two of CONCACAF’s big hitters at this year’s tournament
Costa Rica are the only team left standing between the United States and the Gold Cup final.
Bruce Arena’s men have not always totally convinced at this tournament but they have successfully navigated their way through to the last four and now face a side that has lost a number of its key players.
Gold Cup: Everything you need to know
The stunning, 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will host this match, with the prize a place in Wednesday’s finale.
|Game||Costa Rica vs USA|
|Date||Saturday, July 22|
|Time||21:00 local, 22:00 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the U.S., the match will be available to watch live on television on FS1 and by stream via Fox Sports Go. It can also be watched in Spanish on UniMas.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|FS1 / UniMas||Fox Sports Go|
In the UK, the match will not be broadcast live on television.
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Position||Costa Rica players|
|Goalkeepers||Moreira, Pemberton, Carvajal|
|Defenders||Acosta, Gonzalez, Umana, Gutierrez, Salvatierra, Calvo, Vargas, Waston, Ordain|
|Midfielders||Ruiz, Wallace, Azofeifa, Tejeda, Segura, Guzman, Marin|
|Forwards||Ramirez, Rodriguez, Urena, Leiton|
Costa Rica lost four of their best players after the group stage, with Bryan Oviedo, Joel Campbell and Cristian Gamboa returning to Europe for pre-season and Johan Venegas sent back to Minnesota United after suffering a knee injury.
In their place, Vancouver Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston has been called up along with Jose Leiton, Jhamir Ordain and Jimmy Marin, all of whom play for Herediano. Leiton and Marin are uncapped.
Potential starting XI: Pemberton; Salvatierra, Gonzalez, Waston, Calvo; Acosta; Ruiz, Guzman, Tejeda, Ramirez; Urena.
|Goalkeepers||Howard, Hamid, Gonzalez|
|Defenders||Villafana, Gonzalez, Miazga, Besler, Lichaj, Morrow, Zusi, Hedges|
|Midfielders||Nagbe, Pontius, Corona, Bradley, McCarty, Zardes, Arriola, Acosta|
|Forwards||Morris, Dempsey, Altidore, Agudelo|
Justin Morrow and Eric Lichaj may have done enough to keep their places in the USA team at full-back, but Matt Hedges is likely to be replaced by Matt Miazga or Matt Besler.
Otherwise, Bruce Arena may be tempted to stick with largely the same lineup for the first time at this tournament.
Potential starting XI: Howard; Lichaj, Gonzalez, Besler, Morrow; Arriola, Nagbe, Bradley, Zardes; Dempsey, Altidore.
The U.S. are evens favourites to beat Costa Rica and reach the final, according to Oddschecker, with the Central American side rated at 13/4 and the draw available at 23/10.
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Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are 9/2 joint-favorites to score first, with Marco Urena the top choice for Costa Rica at 8/1.
Truth be told, it has not been a classic Gold Cup.
The most significant talking point during the group stage was the ongoing crisis surrounding Florent Malouda’s eligibility to play for French Guiana, which probably says something about the excitement levels of the football being played.
Few teams – perhaps only Canada, who have now been knocked out – have produced performances better than expected of them and whatever the team of the tournament ends up looking like, it would probably be beaten by an XI of players who have stayed at home.
There is still time, though, in the three games left, for one or two players to stamp their name on this Gold Cup and bring it to life and now we will see the biggest hitters go head-to-head.
The U.S. would certainly, you would imagine, relish the chance to face Mexico for the trophy having lost heavily to El Tri in the 2009 and 2011 finals of this competition.
First they must overcome Costa Rica, and there is a score to settle there, too, following the Americans’ embarrassing 4-0 defeat to the same side back in November that helped cost then-national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann his job.