The Ticos are bringing a good team, especially up front, to Denver for their qualifier against the U.S.
Up next for the United States in World Cup qualifying is Costa Rica, and on Monday, the Ticos' manager Jorge Luis Pinto announced the 22 men he will bring with him to Denver for that crucial match. The roster is headlined by a quartet of fantastic strikers -- Alvaro Saborio, Bryan Ruiz, Jairo Arrieta and Joel Campbell -- that are the envy of CONCACAF and should make things difficult on the revolving door of U.S. defenders on March 22.
Pinto has a strong squad available to him, but there is some turnover in the team, especially at the back. Randall Brenes is will not make the trip to Denver after starting in Costa Rica's impressive 2-2 draw in Panama on the first matchday of the Hex, but the rest of the big changes are in defense, where Jose Salvatierra and Giancarlo Gonzalez are not in the team.
Fresh off of their good result in Panama and a solid third round in which they lost to Mexico twice, but took 10 points from their other four matches, Costa Rica is flying high. They have proven susceptible at the back, which Pinto is trying to rectify, but they are limited by talent in defense, a problem the U.S. knows all too well.
Having lost their first match of the Hex and with a trip to Azteca looming on matchday three, the U.S. needs to take all three points on March 22 or risk the real possibility -- even likelihood -- that they will head into the June qualifiers with just one point. That means finding a way to corral Saborio, Ruiz, Arrieta and Campbell, and even Celso Borges an Cristian Bolanos, who can wreak havoc from the midfield. Taking advantage of the patchy Ticos backline wouldn't hurt either.
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton.
Defenders: Juan Diego Madrigal, Cristan Gamboa, Michael Umaña, Jhonny Acosta, Roy Miller, Bryan Oviedo and Christopher Meneses.
Midfielders: Celso Borges, Osvaldo Rodriguez, Cristian Bolanos, Ariel Rodriguez, Mauricio Castillo, Keylor Soto, Yeltsin Tejeda, Michael Barrantes, Diego Calvo.
Forwards: Bryan Ruiz, Jairo Arrieta, Joel Campbell and Alvaro Saborio.