This is a big moment for the NYC Tri-State area as they will finally get a World Cup qualifier after several USA Friendly matches, some CONCACAF Gold Cup Matches that have been Championship Finals as well as the Copa America Centenario final with Argentina & Chile fighting for the title.
Most of these games have been played in the Meadowlands either at the former Giants Stadium or the current Met Life Stadium, but this time Red Bull Arena will host the big boy game as the USA are looking to get the full three points at the Cathedrial of Football.
“As we know this is an important game to the US team, if we have any hopes of qualifying for Russia 2018.” said Head Coach Bruce Arena, “Costa Rica has been one of the strong teams in the competition to date, they have an outstanding team and beat the USA convincingly last November.”
This has been an amazing turnaround after opening the Hex qualifiers with two straight losses, but once Arena was brought back the performances have been solid and now with four games remaining this one will be the most glaring as the USA is missing several players due to injury.
But One of their bright spots without a doubt has been Christian Pulisic who plays in the Bundasliga at Borussia Dortmund and he has been nothing short of sensational, as he continues to prove that he can compete with the big boys.
Now it’s time to see what he can when he faces the Ticos and since his father who is an assistant coach of the Rochester Rhinos of the USL and a native from Long Island, Pulisic is excited to be playing near his fathers home town area.
“I’m really excited and I have a lot of family in the area, but anytime I get to play at home for the USA I’m always excited.” Said Pulisic, “Just to be back in the US is always fun, but (Red Bull Arena) is a great stadium here and I am very excited.”
But Pulisic knows that now is the time to get down to business and try to get a little revenge on the Ticos after facing that embarrassing loss last November down in San Jose.
“That was a very tough result for us last year and we improved a lot from that loss and we learned a lot, but we are really excited and we want to get a result from this game.” said Pulisic, “We felt that it wasn’t our day, sometimes that’s how it is in this game and we want to turn things around.”
Captain Michael Bradley knows very well what’s at stake against the Costa Rican side as he has faced them many, many times and it doesn’t matter who is on the team. Whoever they plug into the starting eleven will be a challenge no matter what.
“The same challenges they always pose is that they have good players and are tactically set up in a good way, we expect a very difficult night tomorrow.” said Bradley, “ The best and easiest way to put yourself on track to qualify is to win your home games and even against a good team is to play in an aggressive way that pushes the bar in our favor.”
Since going two losses in late November last year while scoring once and allowing six, the US Men’s National Team have converted ten times while only allowing two goals from their opponents. Bruce Arena has worked his magic very well and as of right now they remain undefeated since the January Camp up till their CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship.
Since Bruce Arena’s return to the national team his record since the start of the calendar year is nine wins, no losses with five draws, scoring twenty-seven times will allowing only eight. That is an impressive unbeaten streak and of course with one wrong moment it could derail their qualifying chances for Russia.
Costa Rica knows this and they are aware of delivering a fatal knockout blow if the USA either goes down to the 4th position that is the playoff spot, or worse back down to fifth where there could be an elimination.
We shall see what happens at Red Bull Arena on a Friday night as both sides are getting ready for this crucial qualifier that could make or break a campaign to reaching Russia.