With a first place Group C finish on the line, the United States men’s national team will face their toughest challenge yet of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup when they square off against Costa Rica.
With that said, here are three players that will have to keep up their form if the U.S. is to come away victorious.
Without question, Chris Wondolowski has been the hottest player of the 2013 Gold Cup. Through two games, he has knocked in a total of five goals.
By way of Sporting News’ Seth Vertelney, Costa Rica has not conceded a goal in over 700 minutes.
However, based on Wondo’s past performances, he is definitely capable of putting an end to that.
The video below highlights Wondolowski’s first goal during the 65th minute of the Americans 4-1 victory over Cuba:
Initially in the middle of the box, Wondolowski made a brilliant run to the right side of goal, which placed him in perfect position to receive the cross. After that, a cash money right foot volley was the result.
Look for Wondolowski to do more of the same if the Americans are to come out with a win.
Landon Donovan has repeatedly come up big for the American side over the years. The Gold Cup has been nothing different.
During the first half against Cuba, the U.S. struggled to get anything going with the attack. However, as a result of Donovan’s penalty kick before halftime, the Americans were energized and ran through the Cubans in the second half.
For years, Donovan has been the engine for the Americans.
No matter how bad the situation may seem, Donovan will always find a way to keep the Americans in the thick of it.
Expect Donovan to put on another fine performance against Costa Rica.
Kyle Beckerman will have to play solid in the middle for the U.S.
Beckerman was solid against Cuba. He held his own in the midfield, especially during the second half, when he delivered the aforementioned booming cross to Wondolowski in the box.
His defense will be critically important against a Costa Rican squad that can create an abundance of quality possessions if not properly checked.
If U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann does grant Beckerman the start, putting in work early in the first half will take pressure off of the team to come up with another tiring second half surge, as they have done as of late.
The U.S. will have to receive quality performances from Wondolowski, Donovan and Beckerman in order to escape with the win.
However, with three talents like that on the team, good things will certainly result in the end.