Photo by ISIphotos.com
As important as Saturday night's match vs. El Salvador is to the U.S. national team's quest to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, another match that night will also have serious ramifications.
Mexico is traveling to Estadio Saprissa to take on Costa Rica on Saturday (10pm, Telemundo) in the match-up of the night in CONCACAF. Costa Rica is currently leading the group with 12 points while Mexico sits in fourth place with nine. A victory for 'Los Ticos' would push Costa Rica to the brink of qualifying, while also putting a serious dent in Mexico's attempt to rally from a disappointing start to the qualifying round.
Things aren't going to be easy for Mexico, which will be missing injured star Rafael Marquez and dangerous young striker Carlos Vela (out with an ankle injury) though not Gerardo Torrado (who is NOT suspended for this match). Making the task even tougher is the fact that Costa Rica is nearly impossible to beat at home, having gone a perfect 7-0 at home in 2010 qualifying, outscoring opponents 19-1 in those matches.
So why will Mexico head to Saprissa with some confidence? Along with having beaten Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals (albeit in penalty kick), Mexico also knows it is the last visiting country to win a qualifier in San Jose, having done so in 2005.
Who should American fans root for? A Costa Rica win coupled with a USA win vs. El Salvador would move the Americans four points clear of fourth place, while a Mexico win would open the for the USA to move into first place in the CONCACAF qualifying group. A tie and a USA win would allow the Americans to gain two points on both teams, which wouldn't be a bad scenario for the USA.
Another reason to root for a Costa Rica victory is because it would make it that much more likely that Costa Rica would head into its final qualifier in Washington on Oct. 14th having already qualified.
Here's the question for you, SBI readers. What do you see happening in the Mexico-Costa Rica match?
What do you see happening in San Jose? Think Mexico will keep the momentum going from the Gold Cup and the qualifying win vs. USA? Do you see Costa Rica continuing its unbeaten form at home? Who will you be rooting for?
Share your thoughts below.