PREVIEW – The United States men’s national team will conclude its October schedule trying to bounce back after a disastrous performance in Panama on Sunday. On Wednesday, the USMNT hosts Costa Rica at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio in its sixth game in FIFA World Cup qualifying and its biggest match to date. Despite the loss to Panama, the US is still in the top three entering its first match in Ohio’s capital in five years.
USMNT Costa Rica WCQ Preview
USA returns to familiar city in a new building
The USMNT has a deep history of two decades of success in the city of Columbus. The most famous connection is the four “Dos A Cero” wins for the United States over Mexico at historic Crew Stadium in World Cup qualifying. The original soccer-specific stadium in MLS has now closed its doors and the Columbus Crew plays at the brand-new Lower.com Field in downtown, a venue fit for the United States to get its form back after Sunday’s poor performance.
Manager Gregg Berhalter, the former manager of the hometown Crew, will have more options to choose from in this Costa Rica game with key players Zack Steffen, Weston McKennie, and others available for selection. After heavy rotation in the Panama game, the lineup in Columbus seems likely to be similar to the eleven in Austin for last week’s game against Jamaica.
One aspect to watch in this game is the start for the USMNT. In five World Cup qualifying games, the Americans haven’t scored a single goal in the first half with four different first halves in qualifying ending at 0-0. The only time the US was down in the first half of qualifying was at Honduras in September.
Costa Rica back on track
Los Ticos couldn’t have asked for a better swing of momentum heading into Columbus. While the USMNT was losing to Panama, Costa Rica was winning and was able to hold a 2-1 lead over El Salvador in San Jose to secure its first win in World Cup qualifying. The victory puts CRC right back into the conversation to qualify for Qatar’s World Cup. Costa Rica is now just two points back of the United States with a win shooting them right into the top three in Concacaf.
The opportunity is available for Los Ticos to beat the United States for the first time in four years. Costa Rica defeated the United States twice in the last World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-0 win at home in Nov. 2016 and a 2-0 victory in Sep. 2017 at Red Bull Arena. This will be among one of the biggest road matches for Los Ticos with its first two in 2022 qualifying games ending in 0-0 draws against Panama and Honduras.
What to Know:
United States vs. Costa Rica
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: Lower.com Field – Columbus, Ohio
TV Channel: ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN
Last Match: USA 4, Costa Rica 0 (June 9, 2021 – Friendly – Salt Lake City, Utah)