Costa Rica’s goalkeeping and defense may not quite match the U.S. ability, not even considering the depleted U.S. state in those areas.
But there certainly is some balance in the front lines involved in next week’s World Cup qualifier in Denver. In fact, given Clint Dempsey’s injury concern for Jurgen Klinsmann’s Americans, perhaps Costa Rica’s collection of strikers ranks a tick above what the United States can currently offer.
Costa Rica announced its roster today. Included is Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio, who has a rather prolific 34 goals over the last three MLS seasons (really, two seasons plus two games in 2013). Saborio tends to be somewhat limited in what he gives a team in possession and while building the attack, but the longtime Costa Rican international is a striker’s striker who always knows where to find goal and how to exploit the slightest moments of defensive attention.
Also available will be Jairo Arrieta, who began scoring regularly for Columbus upon his summer arrival in 2012. He had nine goals in 18 matches last year.
One of them will be on the bench, however, while Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz (pictured) guides the Ticos’ strike force. Ruiz continues to be a star performer at Craven Cottage, where Fulham has climbed into a comfortable 10th-place EPL position, well north for now of the drop zone.