Gold Cup 2013: Top Players to Watch in US vs. Costa Rica

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Gold Cup 2013: Top Players to Watch in US vs. Costa Rica
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Costa Rica and the U.S. have had some key players come up big for their sides so far in the 2013 Gold Cup.

With both teams battling for sole possession of the top spot in Group C on July 16, expect some of those names to come up big again. Here are the top footballers to keep an eye on during the final Group C fixture.

 

Landon Donovan, United States

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Landon Donovan has been the key member of the United States' team for many years now and has once again impressed in the Gold Cup. 

In the 4-1 victory over Cuba, the U.S. did not get many threatening possessions going early. After Donovan's penalty kick goal just before halftime, however, the Americans came alive and scored four unanswered goals to win the match.

Against Belize, Chris Wondolowski took center stage with his hat trick performance as the U.S. won 6-1. Even with his teammate's dominant performance, Donovan still made it onto the scoresheet with his 75th-minute goal.

Look for Donovan to have a hand in scoring another goal or assisting on one for his team against Costa Rica.

 

Patrick Pemberton, Costa Rica

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Through two games of group play, Costa Rica goalie Patrick Pemberton has not surrendered a goal. He shut out both Cuba and Belize in 3-0 and 1-0 victories, respectively.

Obviously, all eyes will be on the Costa Rica goalkeeper whenever the U.S. is threatening. In those moments, he could make it a hard day at the office for Donovan and company.

That being said, Pemberton will have his work cut out for him against the Americans, who have scored 10 goals in their first two fixtures. He'll have to keep his composure and try his best to repeat his previous two performances in the net.

 

Chris Wondolowski, United States

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Arguably the deadliest striker in the tournament so far, Chris Wondolowski will challenge Pemberton early and often. As the U.S. soccer Twitter account pointed out, his performance so far is a milestone for a USMNT member:

"Wondo" scored two of his three goals against Belize just four minutes removed from one another. Against Cuba, he found the back of the net during his first seven minutes being substituted into the match.

"I’m feeling more confident in my passing and in my touch and things like that where it’s really helping me, and it’s really raising my level," Wondolowski told reporters after the victory over Cuba, according to MLSSoccer.com.

Considering his recent play in this Gold Cup tournament, there is little reason to believe Wondo will be a nonfactor against Costa Rica.

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