With a home win against Costa Rica in Columbus on Wednesday night, the U.S. men’s national team can set aside all the controversy and chatter around the lineup selection, the coach’s tactics and the U.S. players’ ability to come through in a big spot.
The Americans’ first 2022 World Cup qualifying loss on Sunday — and the manner in which it occurred, without a single shot on goal in Panama — ignited a wave of panic that will probably not be quelled without a convincing win against the 44th-ranked Costa Ricans, who sit in sixth place in the qualifying standings. They can still overtake the second-place USMNT with an upset win.
It was the Ticos who handed the USA a painful home loss in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, and it ultimately resulted in a shocking early elimination from that tournament. Costa Rica will field several of those same veteran players against a U.S. team that should have its first-choice lineup after manager Gregg Berhalter, trying to keep players fresh, made seven changes to the lineup on Sunday.
DECOURCY: It’s a stretch to pile on Berhalter for Panama loss
Sporting News will follow the event live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they’re available:
USA vs. Costa Rica score
CRC — Keysher Fuller (Ronald Matarrita) — 1st min.
USA vs. Costa Rica live updates, highlights from World Cup qualifier
Standings and results: Updated World Cup qualifying table
(All times Eastern)
8th min.: Not much of a reaction from the USA to this point. There was a cross from the right that Brenden Aaronson couldn’t latch onto. Not much else. A few giveaways by Weston McKennie in midfield.
3rd min.: It looked like Zack Steffen should’ve done better on that one, immediately calling into question Gregg Berhalter’s decision to start him over Matt Turner.
2nd min.: Goal Costa Rica!!! Cross by Ronald Matarrita from the left and Keysher Fuller on the far post bounces the ball in past Steffen. There was a question as to whether there was a player offside screening Steffen, but the goal stands.
1st min.: We’re underway. Costa Rica with the early possession and long ball. Zack Steffen has to come off his line to head the ball away.
6:59 p.m.: Paul Arriola’s injury – right groin
Update: Right groin injury for Paul Arriola.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) October 13, 2021
6:59 p.m.: Pregame tifo and it’s factually accurate, too:
6:55 p.m.: Anthem time. And the Ticos are in the black-and-white alternate kits.
6:47 p.m.: Paul Arriola injured in warmups. Tim Weah in:
6:29 p.m.: Big story angle for tonight’s match. Still can’t get over 37-year-old Bolanos and 39-year-old Saborio (!!) on the team.
#USMNT are nearly 9 years a man younger than their #CostaRica counterparts for tonight’s #WCQ in Columbus – USA 188 caps combined…the visitors 737. Does youthful exuberance triumph over gnarled experience? @TaylorTwellman is on the call with me 📺 ESPN2 & @ESPNPlus 6.30ET
— Jon Champion (@JonChampionJC) October 13, 2021
6:00 p.m.: Ticos going five in the back. They want to make life tough on Pepi & Co.
5:46 p.m.: Let the lineup debate begin. Zack Steffen starting in place of Matt Turner (did he deserve to be replaced?), Paul Arriola getting another start and Chris Richards making his first USMNT start in a big game.
5:45 p.m.: ESPN has a pregame show on its social channels featuring Jermaine Jones, Kasey Keller and Seb Salazar:
5:31 p.m.: A reminder of why this match is no cinch:
#USMNT -Costa Rica, 6 CT on ESPN2. 🇺🇸🇨🇷
Costa Rica has won three straight World Cup qualifiers vs the U.S., including a 2-0 Hex win at Red Bull Arena in 2017.
— Paul Carr (@PaulCarr) October 13, 2021
5:27 p.m.: What we presume to be the USMNT bus arriving with its escort Lower.com Field in Columbus:
USA vs. Costa Rica: Lineups
The Americans will benefit from the return of goalkeeper Zack Steffen, midfielder Weston McKennie and left back Antonee Robinson after all three skipped the USMNT’s trip to Panama. Two of those players were carrying injuries heading into the game — McKennie (right quad) and Robinson (knee) — but passed the fitness test.
MORE: Berhalter doesn’t regret fielding lineup vs. Panama
USA starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 13-Zack Steffen-GK — 5-Antonee Robinson, 12-Miles Robinson, 15-Chris Richards, 2-Sergino Dest — 8-Weston McKennie, 4-Tyler Adams, 6-Yunus Musah — 11-Brenden Aaronson, 16-Ricardo Pepi, 20-Tim Weah
USA subs: 1-Matt Turner-GK, 22-DeAndre Yedlin, 21-George Bello, 18-Mark McKenzie, 3-Walker Zimmerman, 23-Kellyn Acosta, 17-Gianluca Busio, 10-Cristian Roldan, 19-Matthew Hoppe, 9-Gyasi Zardes (Not in squad: Sean Johnson, Shaq Moore, Sebastian Lletget, Paul Arriola – injured in warmups)
Costa Rica had to replace Joel Campbell (sprained right ankle) and Jose Guillermo Ortiz (positive COVID-19 test), opting for 39-year-old Alvaro Saborio and 27-year-old Christian Bolanos, veterans of countless U.S.-Costa Rica matchups. Costa Rica looks to be going with a 5-3-2 formation, which has proven successful in the past.
Costa Rica starting lineup (5-2-3, left to right): 1-Keylor Navas-GK — 22-Ronald Matarrita, 15-Francisco Calvo, 6-Oscar Duarte, 2-Ricardo Blanco, 4-Keysher Fuller — 5-Celso Borges, 10-Bryan Ruiz (c), 17-Yeltsin Tejeda — 11-Johan Venegas, 21-Jonathan Moya
Costa Rica subs: 23-Leonel Moreira-GK, 18-Aaron Cruz-GK, 20-Fernan Faerron, 19-Kendall Waston, 8-Bryan Oviedo, 3-Juan Pablo Vargas, 13-Orlando Galo, 16-Youstin Salas, 14-Jimmy Marin, 12-Randall Leal, 7-Christian Bolanos, 9-Alvaro Saborio (Not in squad: Luis Diaz, Kenneth Vargas)
How to watch USA vs. Costa Rica
- Date: Wednesday, Oct. 13
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV Channels: ESPN2
- Spanish-language TV: UniMas, TUDN
- Streaming: fuboTV , ESPN+
The match, which will also be available to stream on ESPN+, will be held at the new Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the home of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, which opened in July.
USA vs. Costa Rica: Betting odds & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Pick: USA -1.25 Asian Handicap (+100)
After a dismal performance on Sunday, it’s hard not to see the Americans coming out pedal to the metal against a Costa Rica team that is not the opposition it once was. The Americans will be fresher, they’ll have a passionate home crowd behind them and, with Ricardo Pepi on the field from the start, they’ll have the best chance to score multiple goals. The only thing that would stand in the way is a lights-out performance from Costa Rican ’keeper Keylor Navas.
The -1.25 Asian Handicap offers some insurance (half the bet is refunded) in case the Americans only win by a single goal.
In case you’re into historicals: The USA has a 6-2-1 record against Costa Rica in World Cup qualifiers played on U.S. soil and a 7-1-2 record against all regional qualifying opponents in Columbus.
Prediction: USA 2, Costa Rica 0
- Moneyline: USA -270 / Draw +350 / Costa Rica +650
- Spread: USA -1.5 (+125) / Costa Rica +1.5 (-170)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +110 / Under -140
- Both Teams To Score: Yes +145 / No -195