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3 vs 1
September 6, 2013 10:00 PM EDT
Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica — San José
Referee:‬ M. Rodríguez‎
Attendance:‬ 35000‎
2′ J. Acosta
Clint Dempsey 43′ (PG)
10′ Celso Borges

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Costa Rica - USA

Following the "SnowClasico," Costa Rica is out to derail the USA's World Cup qualification train.

By Keith Hickey

Jermaine Jones, USA; Cristian Gamboa, Costa Rica; World Cup qualifier
Dustin Bradford
Costa Rica is out for revenge.

The Ticos (3-2-1) have come up short in both of their meetings with the United States (4-1-1) in recent months, losing 1-0 in World Cup qualifying and the Gold Cup group stage, and the former especially sticks in the craw of fans in the Central American country. In the middle of a snow storm, a first-half goal from Clint Dempsey was enough to seal all three vital Hexagonal points for the Yanks. Costa Rica later appealed the result, with coach Jorge Luis Pinto calling it "an embarrassment to football." That appeal was denied by FIFA.

The failed appeal has only bolstered the feeling of injustice felt by Costa Ricans, who have taken to hyperbole and petty gamesmanship ahead of the match. Where U.S. men's national team players were previously given priority immigration status and private travel transitions, they now had to wait in line with everybody else, and walk to their bus surrounded by enraged locals yelling "USA, no fair play!"

The Costa Rican FA failed to provide the U.S. team with game balls for training, and left the Yanks to find their own practice facility after the three recommended sites refused the Stars and Stripes. Newspaper Al Dia printed a picture of U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann arriving at the airport with the caption "los sentimos Jurgen, no hay nieve" (sorry Jurgen, no snow).

The off-field sideshow has somewhat overshadowed the facts. The top two teams in the Hex can virtually (or even literally) book their tickets to Brazil with good weeks, Costa Rica for the first time since 2002. A win in San Jose means the U.S. is guaranteed at least a playoff against New Zealand. An additional win against Mexico in Columbus and the U.S. will have qualified. Costa Rica isn't quite as well off, but a win against the USA would put it at the top of the table, with a game on Tuesday against group whipping boyz Jamaica while the U.S. slugs it out with Mexico.

The biggest injury concern for the U.S. is red-hot striker Jozy Altidore. Having scored in six straight U.S. appearances, he did not fully participate in training on Wednesday despite being cleared by U.S. medical staff. If he is unable to play on Friday, Klinsmann will have to decide whether he wants to play one of stalwarts Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey (set for his 100th cap) out of position, or start one of Eddie Johnson or Aron Johannsson.

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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1K. NavasGoalkeeper
-Bryan Oviedo
-Cristian GamboaDefender
3Giancarlo GonzálezDefender
3J. AcostaDefender
-M. UmañaDefender
7Christian BolañosMidfielder
5Celso BorgesMidfielder
17Y. TejedaMidfielder
12Joel CampbellStriker
-Y. Ruiz
-Bryan RuizStriker
23P. PembertonGoalkeeper
-Junior DíazDefender
19Ó. DuarteDefender
-C. Johnson
22José Miguel Cubero LoriaMidfielder
11Michael Barrantes RojasMidfielder
10M. CastilloMidfielder
9A. SaboríoStriker
-D. CalvoMidfielder
7R. BrenesStriker
-V. Núñez
1Tim HowardGoalkeeper
7DaMarcus BeasleyMidfielder
23Fabian JohnsonDefender
-Matt BeslerMidfielder
16M. OrozcoDefender
-Omar GonzalezDefender
20Geoff CameronDefender
-Graham ZusiStriker
13Jermaine JonesMidfielder
8Clint DempseyStriker
-Landon DonovanGoalkeeper
18Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
22Nick RimandoGoalkeeper
15E. CastilloDefender
-John BrooksDefender
2Michael ParkhurstDefender
22Alejandro BedoyaMidfielder
9Eddie JohnsonStriker
14Kyle BeckermanMidfielder
-M. DiskerudMidfielder
4Michael BradleyMidfielder
-Aron JóhannssonStriker
17Jozy AltidoreStriker
Matchday 7
Times In EDT
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Peter Byers Peter Byers
10 1
B. Pérez B. Pérez
FC Dallas
9 0
J. Bengtson J. Bengtson
New England
9 0
Clint Dempsey Clint Dempsey
Seattle Sounders
8 2
A. Saborío A. Saborío
Real Salt Lake
8 1