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USMNT to host Costa Rica in June friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium

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The U.S. Men’s National Team’s busy 2021 schedule saw another friendly match added as preparation for the upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifying period.

U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday that the Americans will host Concacaf rivals Costa Rica at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 9th. The match will come three days after the Concacaf Nations League Final on June 6th and will host approximately 10,000 fans.

“Costa Rica is a competitive Concacaf team and we are looking forward to this opportunity,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “Combined with the ability to mimic the cadence of matches we will encounter in September and October, this is an important step in our preparation for the start of World Cup Qualifying.”

It will be the first meeting between the two nations since a 1-0 friendly win for the USMNT in January 2020. Ulysses Llanez scored on his debut that day at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The USMNT will face off with Switzerland on May 30th in St. Gallen before continuing the previously postponed CNL Final Four. Gregg Berhalter’s side will face off with Honduras before meeting Mexico or Costa Rica in the Final or third place match of the inaugural competition.

Overall the USMNT is 17-16-5 against Costa Rica since 1975.

Comments

  1. For those worried that Pulisic and Steffen’s seasons are being so prolonged by the CL final, all major European leagues except Netherlands ends May 23. Meaning Zach and Christian’s seasons will be prolonged by a devastating 6 days. I know that will likely force them into immediate retirement. Of course everyone else will be in US camp that week prior to the Switzerland match so Zach and CP will actually be done with matches in Europe one day early than others. I hate when reality gets in the way of good whine.

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    • For some perspective England will play June 2, 6, 13,18, 22, and then could play 4 more matches in the knockout stage with the final July 11. Brazil and Man City GK Ederson will play June 4, 8 in WCQ, then play June 14, 18, 24, 28, then knockouts July 3, 6, and 10. 9 matches in three fewer days than England’s possible run. That our players will be done and on vacation June 10 doesn’t seem so bad.

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  2. It would be nice to have the best 11 and true 18 get a run of competitive games together before WCQ. I don’t care if that is NL or Gold Cup. It’s increasingly looking like the first time we are going to have the full first team play together is going to be qualifying. We are playing some of the lesser teams to start with but it’s a risk as we really need to take 9 points from those games.

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  3. The 4 games are intended to mimic players going from a club game before 3 WCQ matches. Yes we will have to rotate players and not run out the same starting XI for each game…but it should be a decent representation of competition if not travel requirements.
    I would expect that with 3 games per window that each camp will consist of a minimum of 26 player call-ups. This should enable player rotation and minimize impact of injuries/suspensions. Overall this format will benefit CONCACAF nations with quality depth options. We’ve already proved that our “B” & “C” squads can defeat the “B” & “C” squads of T&T, El Salvador, & CR. Nations League showed us Canada’s “A” squad and will give us a view of Honduras & Mexico’s “A” Squads to see how we stack up.
    Gold Cup looks to be “B” Teams for the US & Mexico against the rest of the regions near full strength teams. Between the 2 competitions Gregg & Staff should have a clear player pecking order ahead of the WCQs in September.

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    • What makes it a bit awkward is you’d think rest the 3rd game but that’s the final. You can’t really rest the 2nd because without it you might not make the final. We haven’t played anyone’s best team since 2019 to really know what we have. Even Northern Ireland and Wales it was their A squad backups.

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    • sorry, no, buzz, where do you think any MLS players will already be coming from? a gane. it’s him trying to adjust to the realities of rest and pandemic and such when he’d planned the swiss in as part of the 3 game stretch, made the same theoretical expression. he figured out — late, but i’ll give him some credit — maybe he’d be better off having the 3 game chunk be this side of the pond with less exhausted players. but scheduling switzerland then adding CR suggests he’s insisting on his 3 games without admitting as much. doubling down in a way.

      i don’t get why the swiss for the euro based plus two tough NL games isn’t enough. and i think most soccer players are familiar with 3 games in a week-ish. it’s a fake lesson other than doing the dry run with this specific unit.

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      • This date has been planned since last fall. Berhalter talked about there would be a friendly after NL, the opponent just wasn’t finalized. Although you are right that guys are used to playing 3 games in a week they aren’t used to transatlantic flights leading to them. The schedule for June is games Sun., Thurs, Sun, Weds. In September for qualifying players will play with their club Sat. Or Sun then qualifiers Thursday, Sun, Wed. It gives both players and staff a chance to get into the rhythm of qualifying. Berhalter has faults like any manager but the guy is a planner, I would guess his practice plans are already written for the entire camp and probably knows the post game meal on June 3.

  4. While I don’t think playing anyone in all 4 games makes sense, it does make sense to me to gather the team that represents our best 11 and give them early experience in playing together in in the way that GB wants against a good opponent (Mexico?). Like the approach GB takes or not, the players need to get used to it together. Getting that experience early rather than later gives players the chance to reflect on their own performance in time to come to grips with the system and make any needed adjustments in how they approach their own role.

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    • except is it going to be the first choice, actually? mckennie is already posting social media like he’s one and done. enough like that and it’s like the canceled qatar trip, you’re “acclimatizing” the wrong people.

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  5. USA should – emphasis on SHOULD – blow them out of Rio Tinto. Costa Rica’s fallen to 50th in the world and has pretty much been in free-fall this last cycle. They tied #55 Bosnia 0-0 in a friendly, lost 1-0 to Mexico in March…last year they lost twice to Panama, once to us, tied Qatar 1-1…not good. You look through their roster and other than Keylor Navas, I see a handful of guys who play in MLS and another handful in lower Euro leagues; the bulk are from their domestic league. Nowhere near what they were a few years back, and when you watch them play, they’re piling guys behind the ball and trying not to die too bad.

    They used to be right there with us and Mexico. They aren’t nearly, anymore. Kinda sad to see for the sake of CONCACAF, really.

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    • Navas covered for inefficiency even last cycle, they were never sure what they would get out of Ruiz and Campbell, but solid defense and a good counter attack saw them through. Ramirez also out coached both Arena and Klinsmann, too early to tell if Brenes is up to the challenge.

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  6. Agree this only works if there is heavy rotation between matches. Makes no sense for Pulisic to play 4 matches in a window, none. Him and the other stars in Europe should be left in Europe until WCQ starts. Gold cup and nations league are not worth risking them.

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    • I don’t think you have to worry about guys playing all four certainly not starting all 4. Disagree on your assessment of bringing our best team. This team has played little together whereas Mexico has been together for five or six years. We also haven’t seen the first team using the current iteration of tactics against competitive teams. If someone is questionable physically they should sit out but sitting guys just because they’ve been injured in the past doesn’t prepare us for qualifying.

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  7. that’s 4 games not 3. GB said we were trying to mimic 3 game window tempo. my initial response, with 4 games? then it occurs to me the swiss game he initially said would be part of a 3 game tempo, may be a one-and-done or trial game with a larger camp than usual. you could either use the swiss game to trial noobs of promise for the serious squad, or you can use the serious squad for one short travel game and then move on to a more diluted unit for NL + CR.

    personally this may be enlightenment reaching GB. i thought we should rest the A team until quali and that all this tempo nonsense was crazy, like the opposite of what you want to do in a busy year. pulisic usually looks tired playing “a” game in the summer. you want them to play 3-4? to teach them a lesson about being busy? insane. particularly this year you want the opposite, as few miles on pulisic as you can get. i think they can work their way into chemistry in the fall as the schedule starts out easy then picks up. i think the obsession with winning second rate tournaments confuses what our goal is, and says nothing. we won Gold Cup and within months missed Russia. it means nothing.

    it may also be a simple practical issue where they were optimistic on the pandemic and we’re still in the 20-21 dynamic where you might as well have split squads per continent. setting aside my arguments, even if i had their mentality, “travel practice” may not make health and safety sense yet. they are kind of arrogant and may not admit what they are doing. but they may just subtly shift to the three games in the Americas being a different team and the swiss see a euro-based distortion of the A team, kind of like wales. they get their one game in, some chemistry work, less travel risk, can be driven to site.

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    • I don’t think they’ll fly MLS based guys to Europe for the Swiss match and also you’d likely have some Euro based guys not on the NL roster but that will play GC in Switzerland. Likely will have 3 rosters for the 4 matches with some overlap. Some might depend on when different Euro seasons end as well.
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      The big difference with Covid this time is guys won’t have to return to their Euro clubs right away. They will have time to quarantine between NL and summer training. It may play a role in GC selection though. A lot of clubs have begun vaccinations though and it sounds like Europe is going to open travel to vaccinated people so that might be a non-factor by then.

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    • Neither Steffen nor Pulisic will be in the Switzerland game. Both will be playing the Champions League finals. I see Pulisic come off the bench for the Honduras game or only play the first half.

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      • He’ll start, he’ll actually be on more game rest, and Tuchel will probably rest him anyway. How about Zach and Christian having to fly from Turkey to Colorado together following the final that will be an awkward flight.

      • i don’t get having them participate at all on no rest. the UCL people would be at the end of a long season — a longer one than everyone else — and should probably get a break. what are you expecting from players who are probably already dragging and will be coming from an intense final and any celebrations that follow?

    • The Euros and Copa America are occurring at the same time should all those players also sit out? If players are really so exhausted at this point in the season we should just cancel the Champions League Final. Hey 2026 WC is in June let’s cancel that too. Pulisic gave a poor performance 3 years ago in a friendly under a lame duck coach so now you don’t think anyone should play in June. The exception doesn’t make the rule. You just want to see a weak team thrown out there so you can complain about how terrible US Soccer is.

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    • rumor goes mckennie says he plays swiss and is done. we may find the “3 game tempo” is domestic and the swiss game is used for trialists — with first team rested — or vice versa (and the first team then is done for the summer after the swiss). he was saying swiss were part of the 3 game tempo but i think covid is still messing that up. i think the US is generally naive on covid messing things up. tolerance level is different than most other countries.

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    • personally i thought the summer should be used to rest first teamers and trial people closer to the edge of the 23 we are less sure about. you could get them many games and lots of experience before qualifying. you could integrate the ones who show best, produce, help you win.

      i am curious if there will be more of a “split” between the swiss game and NL/CR games than previously anticipated. perhaps several standout regulars who play one and are done. then a more marginal team plays NL. i would be happy with that. i think it’s more important dike or aaronson or the like makes their case than that we re-prove if mckennie and pulisic can play at the expense of miles on their legs that show in the fall. pulisic in particular always looks exhausted around now. plus not sure when UCL final is anyway.

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      • CL Final is May 29, so Horvath might actually get to play against Switzerland on 30th. If Chelsea advance today Pulisic would just join in the US.

  8. it may be the first meeting “since.” depends who we see in the NL first/third place game. it could almost be a doubleheader like back to back mexico in 2019. depends.

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