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USA vs. Costa Rica, 2022 World Cup qualifying: What to watch for

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Once again, 3 crucial points are at stake.

Jamaica v United States: 2022 World Cup Qualifying Photo by Wilf Thorne/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team once again find themselves entering the 3rd match of a World Cup qualifying window needing 3 vital points. Tomorrow, they are in Columbus to take on a Costa Rica side that has traditionally been the 3rd power in Concacaf but has recently struggled to maintain that designation. Fresh off a come-from-behind home win against El Salvador, Los Ticos are looking to steal another one on the road. The USMNT are desperate to rebound after they lost on the road to Panama on Sunday night, and they hope Columbus, which has been so good to them the past 2 decades during World Cup qualifying, is the place that can help them get back on track.

Latest Form

USA

L (0-1) - Panama - World Cup Qualifying

W (2-0) - Jamaica - World Cup Qualifying

W (4-1) - Honduras - World Cup Qualifying

D (1-1) - Canada - World Cup Qualifying

D (0-0) - El Salvador - World Cup Qualifying

Costa Rica

W (2-1) - El Salvador - World Cup Qualifying

D (0-0) - Honduras - World Cup Qualifying

D (1-1) - Jamaica - World Cup Qualifying

L (0-1) - Mexico - World Cup Qualifying

D (0-0) - Panama - World Cup Qualifying

What To Watch For

Urgency, urgency, urgency. A vital thing was missing in Panama: urgency. When the USMNT went down 1-0 to Panama, that urgency wasn’t there. It’s important that urgency is always present, but it wasn’t on Sunday night. The players need to make sure it’s there tomorrow night.

Shoot. The. Puck. We can’t win if we don’t score. To score, you have to take shots and put them on frame to put pressure on the goalkeeper. Costa Rica has one of the best goalkeepers in the entire world in Keylor Navas, and he’s not going to make it easy. But, you gotta pressure the defense and Navas into allowing a goal in the net, and we can’t have another game where the opposing keeper can watch Squid Game episodes without interruption.

Rule #76. We all have seen Wedding Crashers: No excuses, play like a champion. Everyone on the team has to line up with their minds focused on finishing the business they came to Columbus to do. Go out there and play with fire, heart, desire...play like champions. Do what needs to be done to get the job done and get the 3 points.

Lineup Prediction

The USMNT had some squad rotation in Panama with some key players being out, but now some are back in the fold, and head coach Gregg Berhalter will have some tough decisions with his lineup:

Predicted Lineup vs. Costa Rica

Matt Turner will be in goal, with Antonee Robinson and Sergiño Dest covering the fullback positions. Chris Richards gets his first World Cup qualifying start alongside Miles Robinson in what would be a major test for a duo that could be the future #1 centerback pairing for the United States.

In the middle, Tyler Adams is back in the starting XI with Yunus Musah. Weston McKennie, who did not make the trip to Panama due to a quad issue, starts out on the bench, with Kellyn Acosta taking his spot in the lineup.

Up front, Brenden Aaronson is back in the lineup along with Ricardo Pepi. On the right wing, it’s Matthew Hoppe time, with him getting the start over Tim Weah.

Prediction

This will be a struggle of a match, as Keylor Navas makes some incredible saves. In the end, it’s a Brenden Aaronson goal that’s the decider in a 1-0 USMNT victory.