Costa Rica head coach Paulo Cesar Wanchope (pictured) during a Central American Cup games against Panama on September 7, 2014, in Dallas, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
DALLAS, Texas – Costa Rica recovered from being two goals down in the last 10 minutes on Sunday to force a 2-2 Central American Cup draw with Panama.
Following the match, head coach Paulo Cesar Wanchope praised the play of his youngsters for their role in the Cotton Bowl comeback. Second-half substitutes Johan Venegas (25-years-old), Juan Bustos Golobios (22) and David Ramirez (21) all contributed to the process of gaining the point that enabled the Ticos to qualify for a seventh straight CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“We have a very deep team with a lot of talent,” said Wanchope. “I can talk about and take away what Venegas did, what Golobios did and what David Ramírez did. They are the names young people who have committed themselves to this new generation and I think it is part of the process that what we want.”
Venegas, an Alajuelense standout, netted Costa Rica’s first goal in the 81st minute – its 100th in the competition.
Though the result qualifies Costa Rica for next year’s Gold Cup, it still has one remaining game in the Central American Cup. Depending on Wednesday’s Panama-Nicaragua result in Houston, the defending champion will contest the final or the match for third place next Saturday in Los Angeles.
Regardless, Wanchope was pleased with his side’s ability to handle adversity and how it finished against the Panamanians.
“What I take away is how we ended,” concluded the 38-year-old. “We finished the final 15-20 minutes varying our play, playing a bit more quickly, being more incisive at the point of attack, more aggressive and attacking spaces. I think that is the image I take. Obviously, we wanted to assure ourselves of the final, but now we have to wait.”