Dominant Paraguay held by Costa Rica in sides’ Copa America opener

Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Paraguay and Costa Rica had much different days on Saturday in Orlando, but both sides took a point from their Group A openers at the Copa America Centenario.

Costa Rica gets the United States next, their Group B match coming Tuesday in Chicago. Paraguay plays Colombia in Pasadena later that night. Colombia leads the group with three points, while the USMNT is in last with zero.

Paraguay was the far superior team in the first quarter hour, and maybe for the entire game, as Costa Rica struggled to mark its CONMEBOL opponents.

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La Albirroja flubbed a key chance when Edgar Benitez was sprung through only to proffer a weak shot/cross into the defense.

Costa Rica had a solid chance when Bryan Ruiz headed Joel Campbell‘s free kick directly at Paraguay keeper Justo Villar.

Dario Lezcano was a hair offside on a run that ended with a finish off CRC goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton and into the goal. The linesman’s flag was raised.

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There wasn’t much to the second half, but the 71st minute found Pemberton hitting the turf to snare a Jorge Benitez shot and keep the match scoreless.

Costa Rica had one, maybe two moments in the second half. Kendall Waston rose to head a cross on goal, but it was saved.

Waston, however, lifted the fortunes of the United States for Tuesday’s match in Chicago, taking a needless red card minutes from time.