Oscar Duarte (pictured) earned to call-up to Costa Rica for September 2015 friendlies against South American powers Brazil and Uruguay. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Oscar Ramirez will launch his tenure as head coach of Costa Rica with a 23-man squad for a pair of international friendlies next month.
The 50-year-old announced Thursday a roster that contains of four players from Alajuelense, the side he led prior to being handed the Ticos’ managerial reins on August 18. Among those from the Manudos include uncapped midfielder Ronald Matarrita. The 21-year-old scored the only goal in a two-match playoff against Guatemala earlier in the month for Central America’s final berth in the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship.
Costa Rica will face Brazil on September 5 (Red Bull Arena/Harrison, New Jersey, USA) and host Uruguay three days later (Estadio Nacional/San Jose, Costa Rica).
With World Cup Qualifying starting in November, Ramirez is eager to install his style of play.
"We want to start having ball security,” said the former Alajuelense and Saprissa midfielder. “These players that we are newly calling in give us comfort. We want to see them and see if they can help us in what want to do."
Also earning selection is defender Oscar Duarte, who went the entire way in both of Club Brugge’s UEFA Champions League playoff matches against Manchester United earlier this month.
Costa Rica is looking to snap a 10-game winless streak, compiling a 0W-6D-4L record since defeating host Korea Republic on October 14, 2014.
COSTA RICA ROSTER
(International friendlies: September 5, 2015, neutral v Brazil; September 8, 2015, home v Uruguay)
GOALKEEPERS: Esteban Alvarado (Trabzonspor/Turkey), Keylor Navas (Real Madrid/Spain), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)
DEFENDERS: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Francisco Calvo (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Darmstadt 98/Germany), Oscar Duarte (Club Brugge), Cristian Gamboa (West Bromwich/England), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Palermo/Italy), Dave Myrie (Herediano), Bryan Oviedo (Everton/Costa Rica)
MIDFIELDERS: Elias Aguilar (Herediano), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruña/Spain), David Guzman (Saprissa), Ronald Matarrita (Alajuelense), Ariel Rodríguez (Alajuelense), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon/Portugal), Yeltsin Tejeda (Evian/France)
FORWARDS: Joel Campbell (Arsenal/England), Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Alvaro Saborio (D.C. United/USA), Marco Ureña (Midtjylland/Denmark), Johan Venegas (Impact de Montreal/Canada)