Bryan Ruiz (#10) has appeared in 40 career World Cup qualifiers for Costa Rica. (Photo: AFP Services)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – With two crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers for Russia 2018 on the horizon Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez is turning to his veterans.
Through six games, the Ticos currently sit second in the CONCACAF Hexagonal table with a 3W-2D-1L record.
Ramirez has called in 24 players for Friday’s contest at the second-place United States (8 pts.; Red Bull Arena; Harrison, New Jersey) and the September 5 meeting against first-place visitor Mexico (14 pts.; Estadio Nacional; San Jose).
Among the notable names are three players who have at least 100 senior team caps -- defender Michael Umaña, midfielder Celso Borges and forward Bryan Ruiz.
“The team is composed of experienced players and ones we have confidence in to get six points in these two games, which are vital on the road to the World Cup,” said Ramirez.
The former Alajuelense boss has also assembled a blend of nine domestic-based players mixed with those who compete either in Major League Soccer or in Europe.
In particular, Ramirez highlighted the additions of Saprissa forwards Daniel Colindres and David Ramirez, along with Herediano forward Jose Guillermo Ortiz.
Ramirez believes the attacking trio have the qualities to help the Ticos go toe-to-toe with the two sides closest to them in the standings.
“I know the domestic players and I know when I can use them,” Ramirez concluded. “On this occasion, I think we can utilize Colindres, Ortiz and Ramirez for these matches because of each one’s qualities and we consider them appropriate for these encounters.”
Arsenal attacker Joel Campbell, who scored two goals in a 4-0 qualifying win over the U.S. on November 15, 2016, will miss the matches due to a right-knee injury suffered during July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.