USA vs. Costa Rica: Why United States Will Extend Winning Streak
Yes, the United States already has two wins in the Gold Cup and has clinched its spot in the next round. But truly, the tournament begins on Tuesday night for the Americans, as the team will face its first real test against Costa Rica.
I fully expect the United States to extend its seven-game winning streak and end the Group Stage with all nine points.
For one, while the United States didn't bring its A-team to this competition, that Landon Donovan guy will still be the best player on the pitch. With two goals and two assists in the United States' first two games—too many twos to deal with!—he's already sewn up a spot on next year's World Cup squad.
And his performances thus far have to make the United States the favorite to win this whole tournament.
But Donovan isn't alone.
Chris Wondolowski leads the tournament with five goals and one last name spelled incorrectly on the back of his uniform.
While Kyle Beckerman is often accused of playing too conservatively and slowing down the game, he's been a force in the center of the pitch after two games form his defensive midfielder role.
And even Jurgen Klinsmann has been on his game, recognizing against Cuba that Brek Shea was slowing down the United States on the wing and subbing in Jose Torres in the second half.
The result? The United States scored three second-half goals.
If you think the Americans will rest on their laurels, think again. The chance to set a national record with eight straight wins will be too tempting to ignore.
Surely, the United States is tired of hearing about how the tournament really begins for them now. Even former player and current ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas has said as much:
The #USMNT kicks off their Gold Cup campaign tonight vs. Costa Rica. I'm interested to see how this new group performs together.— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) July 16, 2013
Plus, Costa Rica isn't going to take this game lightly, not after losing to the United States 1-0 in a snowy March World Cup qualifier. Costa Rica protested that result, lost and surely will want to exact some revenge.
Costa Rica comes into this game with a lineup pretty similar to its World Cup qualifying squad, minus Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell. Without question, this will be a big test.
Which team wins?
But Costa Rica hasn't exactly shined in Gold Cup play thus far, while the United States has looked dominant. With plenty of players trying to prove they belong on next summer's World Cup team, I expect the level of play to remain high for the good ol' USA.
And I expect that winning streak to reach eight games.
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