RSL's Alvaro Saborio confident in win vs. USMNT in Colorado
If Costa Rican national team boss Jorge Luis Pinto is the superstitious type, he'll make sure Real Salt Lake forward Álvaro Saborío starts for Costa Rica against the USA on Friday night (10 pm ET, ESPN and UniMas).
Although a reports of a knee injury initially raised questions about his ability to start, an RSL spokesman told MLSsoccer.com that the forward should be good to go, good news for the Ticos considering history says that when Saborío is in the starting XI, Costa Rica don't lose against the US national team.
"I think with the United States, I've always had positive results," he told MLSsoccer.com last Friday. "It's always gone well for me in games against them. I don't think I've ever lost to the USA and I feel good playing against them. So I don't fear them. I don't fear them or anyone. I have a a lot of confidence in the Costa Rican team that we can get the win and get to the World Cup."
In the four matches Saborío has played against the red-white-and-blue – three of which were qualifiers – Costa Rica has an undefeated 3-0-1 record. He has one goal (June 3, 2009) and one assist (Oct. 8, 2005) in the four matches, all of which were starts.
WATCH: Saborío's goal on Saturday vs. Rapids
The next date against the US comes this Friday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, home of RSL Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Colorado Rapids. It's a stadium where Saborío has played three times previously with his MLS club, scoring two goals in a memorable 2010 comeback. The two most recent matches in 2011 and 2012 were quieter affairs for the 6-foot forward, with only one shot to his name.
The Ticos come into the second match of the CONCACAF Hexagonal after a valiant fight back from 2-0 down in Panama to snatch a point, a comeback aided by a Saborío goal. Meanwhile, the US is point-less after an opening round loss in Honduras.
But unlike other US CONCACAF foes like D.C. United's Carlos Ruiz and Houston's Boniek García, who have pointed out how they feel the USMNT has lost a step in recent years, Saborío is not banking on a subpar performance from the Americans.
"Hopefully the moment that they're in helps us, but the Hexagonal is just starting and they were on the road and it's tough to get a win on the road," Saborío said of the USA's loss against Honduras. "You have to give them credit because they're doing things well. They were winning that game in Honduras and they've been to World Cups. You have to respect that."
As far as Costa Rica are concerned, missing out on the 2010 World Cup (at the hands of the USA, no less) has fueled their hunger to make sure they don't fall short for 2014 in Brazil. They're going to rely on a base of young stars and a growing foreign contingent to get the job done.
"This team is hungry and has a great desire to go to the World Cup," Saborío said. "There are a few of us who weren't able to qualify for the last World Cup  and we also have a lot of young quality players who are in Europe. We have to take advantage of them and hopefully they can help us qualify.
"I'm going to give what I humanly can give so Costa Rica can make the World Cup."