Action from the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup game between Costa Rica (red jersey) and the USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHICAGO – The last time Costa Rica beat the United States in the United States was a short eight months. That win came in a friendly just days after the Americans dropped a 3-2 decision to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup.
On that night, in Harrison, New Jersey -- nearly 3,000 miles away from the aforementioned Confederations Cup qualifying playoff contested in Pasadena, California – the Ticos’ Joel Campbell netted the lone goal in the 70th minute.
Heading into their Copa America Centenario showdown on Tuesday, however, Costa Rica hasn’t defeated the U.S. in a competitive road match since May 26, 1985 – a 1-0 victory in a qualifier for the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez, who played in that triumph 31 years ago, realizes that if his team does earn a win at Soldier Field, the Copa host will be eliminated from contention. The Central American champion played Paraguay to a scoreless draw in its first game, while the U.S. fell 2-0 to Colombia.
"I think that here we have to visualize everything, the reality of eliminating a United States at home and to do it in good form is important,” said Ramirez. “All this plays for the Cup, but we must also visualize the future. It’s going to be a fantastic football match, very intense and that neither of the two teams will want to give anything away.”
Costa Rica’s Copa opener was played under hot and humid conditions in Orlando. The weather in Chicago at kick off on Tuesday is expected to be much cooler at approximately 62˚F. A factor that Ramirez believes will benefit his team.
"If you are comparing with the first game, it will be very different,” remarked the 51-year-old. “The climatological part influenced the previous game and now we find a climate very similar to ours.”
Additionally, Ramirez is not looking too deeply into the USA’s loss to Colombia, preferring to acknowledge the overall rivalry and remembering the hard-fought contests of the past.
"In this you also have to be respectful and we know that such moments are difficult to handle,” he finished. “I do not guarantee and history says they have character. We are prepared to find the best United States. We cannot rely on them being weak or so. For me, there is a respect. More than that this a classic and there is a history.”
Of which the next chapter will be written shortly.