Andi Herzog's U-23s have completed what looks to be the toughest part of their schedule and emerged with some credit: bouncing back from a 1-3 slap-down by France to best the Netherlands, 3-1. Those teams look, on paper, like the toughest in the USA's group; a win and a loss is a creditable set of results in a tournament that isn't really about results.
What Toulon 2015 is about for the US is the 2016 Olympics, particularly the upcoming CONCACAF qualifying tournament in October. In that respect, although France and the Dutch might fairly be considered the most challenging opponents on the American schedule for this competition, Costa Rica is arguably the most important.
France sent a U-20 team to Toulon; for the Netherlands, it is an excuse to have a look at U-21 players. But Los Ticos have taken the same tack as the US: send a U-23 team and treat the tournament as a chance to further hone thoughts about Olympic qualifying. And, of course, Costa Rica is also in CONCACAF: this is an opponent that could well stand between the USA and an Olympic berth.
It doesn't mean the Americans need to win, but it is one thing to slip up against some French players you probably won't see again unless your paths cross at senior level, and quite another to stumble over a Costa Rican team that might have a say in whether or not 2015 is regarded as a good or bad year for the current USA U-23 cohort.
Costa Rica has some recognized talent in the squad. David Ramirez is a promising young forward with four senior international caps to his name and two goals in this tournament (both in Los Ticos' 2-3 loss to the Netherlands). Striker John Jhairo Ruiz has been on Lille's books since he was 18 (he turned 21 this year). And LA Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter - the son of MLS royalty - is testing Costa Rican national team waters after a stint with the USA U-23s earlier this year.
The Americans can be considered favorites because they beat the Dutch and Costa Rica did not. But the defense can expect a vigorous test from Los Ticos' front line. And both teams will seek to take lessons out this game that may prove valuable if they meet again in October.
Note: beinSports is once again offering a delayed broadcast - its TV coverage will start at 11:30 am (Eastern).