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USA/Costa Rica: Matchday is here


After days of waiting, USA-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifying matchday is finally here.

The U.S. men's national team will make its final visit to Estadio Ricardo Saprissa tonight and will be looking to record its first victory at the fabled venue before it is replaced by a new stadium. Costa Rica will look to knock off the United States an take over first place in the Hexagonal Round of World Cup qualifying.

For those of you who haven't seen it, here is my preview of the match for

Speaking of ESPN, tonight's match IS NOW BEING SHOWN ON ESPN2. The game was originally being shown on ESPN but a late scheduling change has moved the game from ESPN to ESPN2. The game is still being shown at 10pm, but now will be preceded by a 30-minute match preview starting at 9:30pm. So for those keeping track, tonight's match is being shown on ESPN2, Galavision as well as Match Tracker. You can also feel free to follow the action on SBI as I do plan on on a Match Night Commentary.

So here is the big question for U.S. national team fans. What do you see happening tonight? Will the Americans finally solve the riddle of Saprissa? Do you see a tie? Will Costa Rica run wild yet again? Cast your vote:

How do you see tonight's game going? Will Costa Rica jump out to a fast start? Can you see the U.S. team going on the attack early on? Do you see Tim Howard having one of his trademark matches? Would you complain if the U.S. team escaped Saprissa with a tie?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The game was originally scheduled to be shown on ESPN, but then they realized it was soccer, and quickly moved it to ESPN 2. They actually realized the mistake sooner but they thought it would be funny to mess with soccer fans by letting them think that it was going to be on ESPN right up until hours before the game.:)

    Seriously, they had a decision to make. In the end they felt it was in the best interest of ESPN to show refrigerator racing in the ESPN slot. So no one should feel insulted.

  2. CT – I believe that Spector will play tonight and I do not think that Wynne (or Spector) is an international level player at this point, by any measure.

    I cannot imagine Wynne or Spector not making a bunch of mental mistakes since I anticipate most USMNT players making a bunch of mental mistakes. Since mistakes are going to happen and the pace of play will be fast I would rather see Wynne tonight because of his physical attributes.

    These are the same physical attributes that Hejduk brings. Both (Hejduk and Wynne) are more athletes than soccer players whereas Spector is more soccer player than athlete. Going with Wynne might allow Bradley to use a similar game plan/approach to the one he would have used if Frankie played. With Spector playing the approach will have to be modified even more. Since both Wynne and Spector are green, will make mistakes, and will be in awe of the situation why not go with the one that requires less changes to the plan; less changes to what is asked of the other US players on the field?

  3. Ives, since I stuck up for your shoes, can you find out whether Spector looks to be traded? The West Hamm webside identifies those players who will be staying and those who will be leaving and Spector is not mentioned in either group.

  4. Only soccer fans would complain that moving the game to ESPN2, where it is guaranteed to be shown in its entirety, is a “slap in the face” to soccer.

    You’re right…it should have stayed on ESPN so that we’d get to join in progress in the 30th minute. That’s a better plan.

  5. Don’t forget that the game is also on ESPN360. Hopefully those who set the DVR to the wrong channel have an ISP that provides ESPN360.

  6. julio, give it a rest. those guys aren’t gonna be in a US shirt. ever. so why don’t you join the rest of us in moving on and let’s focus on the men who wear the shirt proudly, shall we?

  7. It’s time for us to stop thinking in terms of a road game and start thinking that it’s time to win.

    We were missing Gooch and Howard in El Salvador. It showed.

    Based on Torres performance against El Salvador and the fact that he plays in Mexico, he should see some time. He knows how to play against players in this region. It showed in El Salvador. He was the game changer that got control of the midfield for us.

    The last time was played CR at home, we had already qualified and Arena played a secondary roster. Let’s see how the 1st team does. We win, we can start calling ourselves the power in CONCACAF.

  8. oh man. just read about the espn/espn2 switch. I dvr’d for espn. I really wanted to see this game. Maybe the lesson is to dvr every single espn station for the time period of a game. But you can only dvr two stations at once. So I guess, in the future, I’ll go with espn and espn 2, and pray that it doesn’t show on classic. totally annoyed.

    I will just have to take y’alls word for it when u say ching and mastro sucked and adu rocked the house.

  9. I am VERY surprised at how many people are leaving out Torres.. he plays in environments EXACTLY like this every week, thousands of passionate, a little drunk, fans screaming in Spanish and playing like there is no tomorrow… he is used to it.

  10. JB,

    Thanks for the info. on ratings. Yes, Euro’s got great traction which was exciting!

    One corretion though. USA/Mexico kicked butt in it’s time slot……..on the Spanish speaking station, not on ESPN.

    Matter of fact, it broke records for high ratings for Spanish speaking stations.

  11. tsingletonvt:

    The problem with your proposed lineups is that Wynne has about 30% of the soccer IQ as Spector. I just saw Wynne play in person this weekend in Houston v Toronto. Wynne makes too many mental mistakes.

  12. ———-howard————

  13. ESPN’s World Cup coverage has had strong ratings. USA/Mexico in February won its cable time slot in many markets around the country. Euro 2008 games still rank as most of the highest page counts in ESPN 360 history. MLS midweek ratings have been lukewarm, but the U.S. national team has carried its weight against other sports on the ESPN networks.

  14. My information is that ESPN bumped the game to the deuce because they obtained the last-minute television rights to the Bulgarian Womens’ Rodeo championships and figured that would get better ratings. Bastards!

    Anyway, if we get an early goal, the Ticos will fold and resort to cheap, dirty play. Could be an ugly game. Gooch scores off a header!

  15. I want our team US to come out and play like we need the points, remember that after this game here come the Hondureans, which they came on a good run against Mexico. Destroying them with a 3-0. Bob Bradley need to play to win not to play safe. El Salvador play against Costa Rica with Offense and even tho E.S. lost to C.R. El Salvador outplayed them. The USA have to put themself that is a Turf field and is been play in the U.S also. I think Bob should used guy at top with tuffness and good control and good sense for Goals. like Altidore with Dempsey or maybe (Charlie Davis)fast and skill players. in the middle Torres, Donovan and Adu. or maybe Beasley. Just little bit foward from the Defensive M. Bradley or Mastroeni, and on Defend used a new lineup with Bocanegra on left and middle DeMerit and Ouchie, On the Right Spector. and please we need Howard to play goalie, I think it will be a good lineup 4,4,2.

  16. Pooter,

    Unfortunately, the only thing that is embarrasing about the TV coverage of soccer……is the ratings.

    In which there are none.

  17. Ives

    Don’t you think the exclusion of Michael Orozoco has been long and harsh enough? I know what he did in the Olympics was the main reason why we did not advance in that game (or it can be used as an excuse) but it has been 3 W.C Qualifiers that the guy has been excluded. This guy after all did have a hand in the reason why Torres decided to play for the US (he told him how great a program the US Nat’l team is etc..).

    You thoughts please.


    If you could make a US roster right now with Subotic and Rossi who good would they be and where would they line up, what would be your ultimate US roster including these guys or any that got away. Would it be with the elites (Brazil, Spain, Argentina) with the adittion of those two playes or any other snubs we have had ? I think not but I would like a Pro’s opinion.



  18. Who cares between ESPN and ESPN2? (except for those who can’t switch the recording settings on their DVR) Everybody who has ESPN has ESPN2. Why does everybody make a big deal about the credibility of soccer in the US and the respect it gets? Who cares?

  19. We aren’t out of the days, nor do I think we will ever be out of the days when a tie in CR would be a bad result. For people to think that if we don’t win, on the road, it is an upset.

    I would be more concerned about not winning the game on Saturday, any points from today is a bonus, and as I have read many places is points CR can’t get at home. I would be elated with a tie, however I don’t think we can get a tie by sitting back.

  20. Re: beckster’s photo.

    Slick shoes Ives. But how were you paying more attention to your Blackberry than that fly hunny to your left that apparently couldn’t keep her eyes off you? 🙂

  21. Wally World,

    Here’s the first part of the scouting report……Gonzago Seagares of the Chigago Fire is a starting defender.

    Their top forward is young striker Bryan Ruiz. He plays against Gooch in Belgium.

    Their playmaker is Walter Centeno. He’s old, but he’s good at creating.

    Now go win USA! lol

  22. The explanation from ESPN was halfway decent, but it is still a bit of a slap in the face to switch the game to ESPN2. ESPN gives soccer some credibility.

    Now World Cup Qualifying looks like a last minute substitute for College Softball. Embarrassing.

  23. the switch to ESPN2 sucks. I don’t have ESPN2 in HD, only ESPN. But if it wasn’t going to be HD anyways, guess it doesn’t matter. Wish they would have kept it on ESPN, hosting a party and the HD was a nice plus

  24. Ives –

    I am a HUUUUGE fan of your site, but, like, r we getting some analysis of the Costa Rican team? From reading all the pre-game coverage on your site and elsewhere, one would get the impression that the USMNT are playing against saprissa stadium, and not against actual humans.

  25. Question: Does this have any affect on the game being broadcast in HD? DO we know if it was originally going to be HD?

  26. We have some very optimistic voters out there on the poll. Hope you are right and I am wrong.Never wanted to be wrong so much in my soccer loving life.

  27. Here is the lineup I would like to see tonight:

    Altidore – Ching

    LD – Bradley – Mastro – Dempsey

    Beasley – Boca – Gooch – Wynne


    Play the game to win. If the field is fast then play fast wing backs. Both Spector and Wynne will be in awe of the situation. Play the one who is fast enough to recover. I hear a lot about Spector, but am still waiting for his play to match his hype. I am pretty sure Spector will start tonight and hopefully he will play well.

    Here is the 4-5-1 lineup I would prefer to see:


    Torres – Bradley – LD – Mastro – Dempsey

    Beasley – Boca – Gooch – Wynne


    I’d like to see Torres for his ball skills. maybe this group controls the ball a little better? A 4-5-1 that just boots the ball up the field out of danger will be under attack all night. Such a 4-5-1 might look like this… my predicted starters for the night:


    Beasley – Bradley – LD – Mastro – Dempsey

    Pearce – Boca – Gooch – Spector


  28. Streff – thanks for the info, and upon reading that.. I do agree. Even if that pregame show involves Alexi Lalas’ keys for a US victory… still better than nothing or even poppin’ in late to the match.

  29. Steve C.

    The program leading up to the qualifier was a Boston/Detroit baseball game. Those silly American league games usually run over — therefore, it could have jepordized us fans here missing the start of our game tonight.

    So with an open spot on ESPN2 (Softball World Series ended last night, freeing up the spot tonight), ESPN did us a favor, by ensuring that we see the match in its entirity, and also gave us a pregame show.

    Not a bad deal in my eyes.

  30. Steve C,

    Considering Poker, Sports Center, and Vic’s Vacent lot all get better TV ratings than soccer I can’t really complain.

    On the upside, in the firt time in a decade soccer is getting better TV ratings than the Arena Football League!

  31. I took that picture on Monday. Today the sky is sunny, but in Costa Rica it can go from sunny to stormy in a matter of minutes.

    Will the USA play for a tie? I don’t see that. I do see the Americans trying to weather the expected early storm from the Costa Ricans, but they will attack and Donovan and Dempsey will be the ones to apply pressure and create chances.

  32. Let’s hope we’re beyond the days when a tie on the road in Central America is a “good” result. Of course we’ll take the point, but I hope our guys play to win!

  33. Makes me wonder what ESPN will be showing instead at 10pm. My guess is – Poker followed by the 11pm sportscenter. Very important stuff!

  34. Pretty cool looking and intimidating stadium.

    USA’s version of intimidation is either

    A) Playing in 20 degree weather

    B) Hiding the game somewhere, where opposing fans can’t get to. That way they won’t outnumber USA fans 2:1 like the last Gold Cup final.

  35. With the way he spoke during the press conference I think Bob may be leaning towards starting Jozy (although I think the yellow card is of bigger concern than fitness). I think the US has all the tools to get a result tonight, but it’s not going to be easy at all. I think they need to weather the first 15-20 minutes, but still show they can attack instead of bunkering down. Here’s the lineup I think we’ll see tonight.












  36. The US should win and learn to do so in a dinky, hostile, thunderdome-like stadium.

    Since we can speculate here…
    I wish we would try Bocanegra out on the left and another CB in the middle. Especially versus an opponent next week like Honduras. I know it won’t happen, but what if?

  37. Ives;

    Any word yet from USSF regarding the next Copa America?

    CONMEBOL have officially invited Mexico and Japan to take part in the next Copa America in Argentina.

    I’m sure it has alot to do with the watered down team USSF sent down there two years ago but it might have more to do with a Japanese company offering sponsorship to CONMEBOL for Libertadores, Sudamericana, and the Copa America.


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