Did you take my advice and get fired up for the Copa America Centenario? If not, read this and get on board. Once you’ve absorbed all of that into your noggin, let me tell you why tonight’s game against Colombia is HUGE for the United States…
1. The U.S. needs to win. (But a draw is okay. Definitely can’t lose.)
Colombia is going to win the group, but the U.S. is still very much in the hunt to earn the runner-up spot and a ticket in the knockout round of the tournament. To do so, the Americans will need to handle business tonight against Costa Rica, which tied Paraguay in its first game. Tonight is a must-win or tie to stay alive.
Here’s a look at the current group standings through one game:
A draw between Costa Rica and Paraguay was the best thing that could happen for America’s chances. Now a win over either team should have the U.S. in a great spot to advance, assuming they both lose to Colombia. What can’t happen is another L for the U.S. tonight. That would eliminate them from moving on.
2. The USMNT hasn’t lost to Costa Rica at home in official competition since 1989.
The two teams have faced each other 15 times on American soil in official competition since Costa Rica’s last win. You may remember the 2014 World Cup qualifier played in the snow in Denver:
However, Costa Rica won a friendly against the Americans in New Jersey last fall.
3. The Americans are slightly favored.
For you bettin’ folks…
United States: -125
Costa Rica: +425
4. Clint Dempsey is the only American with a career goal against Costa Rica.
Dempsey has two on the “Ticos,” but no one else on the roster has found the back of the net in this rivalry. That will need to change tonight for the young Americans looking to find their place with the USMNT.
Let’s go Bobby Wood.
5. Costa Rica is ranked No. 23 in the world.
The Yanks are eight spots back at No. 31.
But that home Chicago crowd should carry them to victory.