Head coach Oscar Ramirez (pictured) answers questions at a Copa America Centenario post-game press conference in Orlando, Florida, USA, on June 4, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
ORLANDO, Florida -- Costa Rica didn’t gain the three points it wanted from its opening Copa America Centenario Group A match. The Ticos also lost center-back Kendall Waston for their second game due to his ejection.
Head coach Oscar Ramirez, however, says his team is designed to respond to those type of challenges.
“It’s OK, it’s all good,” Ramirez stressed after Costa Rica’s 0-0 draw with Paraguay at Camping World Stadium. “We have the people, we have 23 people in the selection for these type of situations, and we have to adapt.”
A victory would’ve given the Central American champion a chance to all but assure itself passage to the quarterfinals with a win in their next game against CONCACAF rival United States in Chicago on Tuesday.
Such a result looked possible for much of the second half, when Costa Rica created the majority of the chances after Paraguay did so in the opening 45 minutes.
Waston had a clear header in the 79th minute that he slightly mistimed. Eight minutes later, Christian Bolaños’ 25-yard swerving effort forced Justo Villar into an awkward save.
“From the beginning of the second half, we were able to control (play),” commented Ramirez, who played in each of Costa Rica’s four matches at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. “We finished trying to get that goal, which would’ve been important for us at the beginning of the tournament.”
Costa Rica’s pursuit of a third straight win against the U.S. was made slightly more difficult by Waston’s dismissal and coming suspension. The 28-year-old was sent off in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time for a clattering challenge from behind on Nelson Valdez.
“I really feel bad,” said Waston, a member of MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps. “It’s always awful to have a red card. And, right now, the only thing is, I have to support my teammates. They support me in this difficult situation. And now we just have to look forward to the next game and do our best because we know it doesn’t end here.”