Preview: U.S Men’s National Team vs Costa Rica

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by JACK HAZZARD

Time to rebuild, regroup, and move forward.

After Friday night’s disappointing 2-1 loss to Mexico, the United States Men’s National Team will travel to the Estadio Nacional to play Costa Rica in their second and final match of the international break.

A bitter and underwhelming performance from the United States found themselves losing their first match at MAPFRE Stadium against Mexico. As per usual, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has once again found himself in the hot seat. Critiqued for his poor defense and weak rotation, the United States coach is in dire need of a win this Tuesday night.

Opposing the US this week, Costa Rica is coming off of a 2-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago. Goals came from NYCFC defender Ronald Matarrita and Christian Bolanos. With Costa Rica in winning form, La Sele will pose a difficult challenge for the United States.


PROJECTED STARTING XI:

UNITED STATES: Brad Guzan; DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, Matt Besler, Fabian Johnson; Julian Green, Michael Bradley (C), Alejandro Bedoya, Christian Pulisic; Bobby Wood, Jozy Altidore

COSTA RICA: Keylor Navas; Bryan Oviedo, Cristian Gamboa, Kendall Watson, Ronald Matarrita; Johan Venegas, Cristian Bolanos (C), Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges, Rodney Wallace; Joel Campbell

Player to Watch: Posing as the main offensive threat against the United States, Sporting CP striker Joel Campbell is set to give Jurgen Klinsmann and company a pacey challenge. The speedy Costa Rican striker/winger has the ability to find the open space and create difficulties for back lines, yet he tends to miss his opportunities when they are presented to him. Although he may have his occasional slip-ups, Campbell will be a handful for the United States’ defense. In ten matches with Sporting CP this season, the 24-year-old has scored three goals and assisted one, helping lead his Portuguese side to a current second place spot in Liga NOS.

X-Factor: Announced over the weekend, goalkeeper Tim Howard was diagnosed with an injury to his right adductor, rendering him unavailable for Tuesday night’s match. The United States has three backup goalkeepers on the roster; Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath, and William Yarbrough. In the past, Brad Guzan would have been the clear option as Howard’s replacement but the 32-year-old has seen little to no minutes this season in the Premier League. Klinsmann has been skeptical of Guzan’s limited time, meaning he may look to either Yarbrough or Horvath to start during the week.

How to Watch: Tuesday, November 15, 2016, at 9 PM ET on beIN Sports and NBC Universo

Location: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica


Prediction: USMNT wins 2-1