Costa Rica has missed out on just one Gold Cup (1996), but despite numerous international successes — qualifying for three World Cup finals and capturing a record seven Central American titles – it has never been crowned Gold Cup champion.
The Costa Ricans’ high water mark in the competition was their appearance in the 2002 final, when they fell 2-0 to the United States. The current UNCAF Copa Centroamericana champion has been a regular in the semifinal round, however, with a pair of third- and fourth-place finishes.
This year brings a Tico team in transition to the U.S., as a number of veterans have made way for the younger generation of Costa Rican talent, led by 21-year-old forward Joel Campbell (one career Gold Cup goal). Among their other objectives, the Costa Ricans will be looking to defeat Group C foe United States for a first-ever time in Gold Cup play, having amassed a record of just one draw and five losses from six previous meetings.
Spearheaded by MLS-based striker duo Jairo Arrieta and Alvaro Saborio (three career Gold Cup goals), who led Costa Rica with seven goals heading into June’s World Cup qualifiers, and stabilized at the back by the goalkeeping talents of Patrick Pemberton – the top goalie at the 2013 Copa Centroamericana – Costa Rica will hope to make this year the one in which it finally brings home the trophy.
Interesting statistic, Costa Rica has the most draws in Gold Cup history with 12, four more than runners-up Canada and Panama.