Running back their semifinal match from the Gold Cup, Costa Rica and the USMNT will do battle in Harrison, New Jersey on Friday in World Cup qualifying action. Not having the easiest of times in their World Cup campaign so far, the USMNT needs all the points it can get from its next two matches if Bruce Arena and company want to put some distance between themselves and the bubble.
The Americans got the best of this matchup on their way to Gold Cup glory but when they last faced in a WCQ game, Costa Rica reeled off a four-to-nil win at the Estadio Nacional. Since then, the USA has been much better, going unbeaten in 14 straight matches in all competitions.
Nothing is guaranteed with this team, though, and it’s likely that the venue will have a strong contingent of Costa Rican supporters, essentially eliminating the home-field advantage for the Americans.
In terms of talent, it’s quite possible that this is the best squad the USA has ever put on grass. Christian Pulisic, 18, leads that front for the Americans, making an impact in any match he sees the turf. Expect the tricky mid to start on Friday and create some quality scoring chances for the red, white and blue.
Every World Cup spot in CONCACAF is still up for grabs so this is a match that both countries should be treating like a finals fixture. Costa Rica will likely play not to concede but when they eventually break against a legitimate attacking force, they should open up and go after a result.
A both-teams-to-score wager is one I’ll be chasing personally in this contest with the USMNT still relatively weak in the defending third.
|USA||-0.5 (-135)||-135||OVER 2 (-135)|
|Costa Rica||+0.5 (+115)||+400||UNDER 2 (+110)|
Odds as of August 30 at [custom:bodog-link]