With U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard (right) looking on, players from Costa Rica gather to celebrate after Joel Campbell scored the only goal in the international friendly on October 13, 2015, in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo: Mike Lawrence/isiphotos.com)
HARRISON, New Jersey – After a victory in an international friendly at the United States on Tuesday, the first four games of Costa Rica’s Oscar Ramirez era officially opened with the same 1-0 scoreline.
The Ticos also defeated Uruguay, and fell to Brazil and South Africa, in the outings following the 50-year-old's appointment as head coach on August 18.
Though playing sides from three different continents in slightly more than a month is expected to prepare the Central American champion for the start of its 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign next month, the win over the U.S. was a genuine confidence booster.
“The win helps us on the motivational end that now intensifies,” said Ramirez. “But now we are going to play for points, which is a more complex situation. The triumph leaves us with the taste that we are doing well.”
At Red Bull Arena, Arsenal forward Joel Campbell scored the only goal against the Americans in the 70th minute. It was one of six shots that Costa Rica placed on Tim Howard’s goal. The Everton custodian also tipped a Campbell effort over the crossbar and thwarted Marco Ureña in the last minute of normal time.
“We displayed great football and we controlled the end of the game,” Ramirez continued. “I think the score ended up closer. After the 15th minute, we were able to control the match better and attack from the wings.
“The second half was ours. The difference was a goal, but we could have had more. I leave happy because we played good football.”
With its first World Cup qualifier slated for November 13 against visiting Haiti, Ramirez hopes that the warm-up matches prove to be the start of something special.
“From here we have to keep growing,” the former Alajuelense manager finished. “The national team played as a team, honoring its area and capitalizing on its individual characteristics.”