This time, the Costa Rica Gold Cup match against the United States will be played in the swelting summer heat of Connecticut, not the late-season winter wonderland of Colorado.
Tuesday night in East Hartford, Conn., the United States and Costa Rica close out the first round of the Concacaf Gold Cup (8 p.m. Eastern, Fox Soccer). Both teams have qualified for the quarterfinals this weekend in Baltimore; the only matter left uncertain is which one will finish first in the Group. A victory or a tie would give the United States the top spot and a quarterfinal match against the third-place team from either Group A or B. The Costa Rica Gold Cup aspirations are the same.
The last time the teams played was in a World Cup qualifying match in Commerce City, Colo., a match that will not soon be forgotten because it was played in an often blinding snowstorm. The United States won, 1-0, a victory that helped propel the Americans to a string of success in qualifying. The run culminated last month with three-game sweep that vaulted into first place in the regional qualifying group.
With its victory on Saturday against Cuba, the United States has a seven-match winning streak, which ties the team record that was set from June 2-24, 2007, when the United States defeated China, 4-1, in a friendly and then won six matches ending with the 2007 Gold Cup title.
The current streak, which began after a loss to Belgium, has included friendlies, World Cup qualifiers and two Gold Cup games — all with a changing cast of players.
Some statistics from the run:
■ 34 players have earned at least one cap
■ The United States has scored 25 goals and allowed 6
■ 12 U.S. players have scored goals
■ Four have scored their first goal for the senior national team (Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Corona, Brad Evans, Chris Wondolowski)
■ Three wins have been shutouts
■ Six of the seven games were played at home (the other was at Jamaica)
■ Two games were played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (Honduras and Cuba)
■ Jozy Altidore scored in four consecutive games, joining five other U.S. players who have also scored in four straight
■ Landon Donovan became the first men’s national team player to score 50 career goals; and then became the only men’s national team player to also have 50 assists
■ With his goal against Belize, Donovan is the only player with goals in six different Gold Cup tournaments
■ Chris Wondolowksi scored the third hat trick in Gold Cup history for the United States
■ With five goals from two games, Wondolowski is already the top U.S. scorer in a single Gold Cup tournament
■ Stuart Holden scored his first goal for the national team in four years; all three of his goals for the team have been in the Gold Cup
By JACK BELL
Published: July 15, 2013
Tags: Costa Rica Lifestyle