CARSON, Calif. – Next week the U.S. National Team will travel to Costa Rica for a World Cup qualifier that could put them another step closer to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
However, this time around, the U.S. won’t be playing the Costa Ricans at the famed Estadio Saprissa where they are winless in qualifying matches, but the brand new Estadio Nacional. Built in 2011, the Estadio Nacional is a far more modern stadium than Saprissa and also contains a track around the pitch, which separates the intimidating Costa Rican crowd from the field. The LA Galaxy are expected to take on C.S. Cartagines at Costa Rica's national stadium on Sept. 25 due to lighting issues at Los Brumosos home stadium.
But will U.S. reap any benefits by not having to play at the famed “Monster's Cave”?
“In my opinion, Saprissa is the hardest place to play in CONCACAF so it can’t hurt. That’s for sure,” said Donovan. “But any time that you play Costa Rica at home or away, we expect a difficult game so we expect that same.”
No matter where they play, Gonzalez is sure that they’ll get a great deal of flak on the field and in the stands after their epic “Snowclasico” World Cup qualifier in Denver in March that saw the U.S. defeat Los Ticos 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“I think that it’ll be a hostile environment and they’re not going to make it easy for us,” said Gonzalez. “That’s something that we already expect going into those countries. I think that the environment is going to make it a fun game.
“We’re going to go in there and fight hard,” Gonzalez added. “The fans are going to go give it their all and support their team, but we’re definitely going to have our backs against the wall, but it’s up to us to be united and to play the proper way and hopefully come out with three points.”
Highlights of that last meeting between Costa Rica and the U.S. are below...