Costa Rica vs. Canada
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup - Group A, Matchday 2
BBVA Compass Stadium - Houston, Texas
Tuesday, July 11 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: FS1, UniMás, Univision Deportes, TSN 1/3/4/5
FOX Sports GO, FOX Soccer 2Go, TSN GO, univisiondeportes.com
The Canadian national team looks to take firm – if unexpected – command of Group A when it faces Costa Rica in an early-evening kickoff in the sultry Houston summer.
Canada currently lead a Gold Cup group for the first time since 2009, thanks to a 4-2 tournament opening win vs. French Guiana, a brace from teenage phenom Alphonso Davies, and a superior +2 goal difference. But the Ticos will still be riding their own sense of accomplishment after Marco Urena scored the winner in Costa Rica's first-ever Gold Cup victory over Honduras.
Even a draw would likely seal Canada's first passage out of the group since the 2009 tournament. Lose, and they may need a victory against the same Honduras side that knocked the Canucks out eight years ago at the quarterfinal stage.
Perhaps none of CONCACAF's big boys are taking the tournament more seriously than Costa Rica, who are leaning stars like Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell while both the US national team and Mexico use the Gold Cup as an audition for fringe players.
That said, New York City FC's Rodney Wallace got a rare international start, and took advantage Friday by providing the service on Urena's 39th-minute strike. The Ticos may also have to alter their approach in their second game after Minnesota United forward Johan Venegas left with an early injury Friday.
COSTA RICA 23-PLAYER SQUAD
Goalkeepers (3): Dany Carvajal (Saprissa), Leonel Moreira (Herediano), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)
Defenders (9): Johnny Acosta (Herediano), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United FC / USA), Christian Gamboa (Celtic / SCO), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Palermo / ITA), Kenner Guiterrez (Alajuelense), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland / ENG), Jose Salvatierra (Alajuelense), Michael Umaña (unattached), Juan Pablo Vargas (Herediano)*
Midfielders (7): Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Joel Campbell (Arsenal / ENG), David Guzman (Portland Timbers / USA), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting CP / POR), Ulises Segura (Saprissa), Yeltsin Tejeda (FC Lausanne-Sport / SUI), Rodney Wallace (New York City FC / USA)
Manager: Oscar Ramirez (Costa Rica)
Davies certainly didn't do anything to curtail the momentum of his the Vancouver Whitecaps prodigy's own hype train. His second-half brace completed an historic offensive explosion for Canada, whio had never previously scored four goals in a single Gold Cup match and had scored three times only twice.
That said, French Guiana made things scary by scoring twice in two minutes in the second half while creating more opportunities that a more ruthless team – like Costa Rica – may have exploited. To achieve a truly surprising result against one of the region's best, Canada will need to return to the defensive form that saw them keep four clean sheets and allow only seven goals total in their nine Gold Cup group matches from 2011 to 2015.
CANADA 23-PLAYER SQUAD
Goalkeepers (3):Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact / MLS), Milan Borjan (MKS Korona Kielce / POL), Jayson Leutwiler (Shrewsbury Town FC / ENG)
Defenders (6): Manjrekar James (Vasas Budapest / HUN), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk / POL), Dejan Jakovic (New York Cosmos / NASL), Samuel Adekugbe (Vancouver Whtiecaps / MLS), Adam Straith (FC Edmonton / NASL), Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps / MLS)
Midfielders (13): Fraser Aird (unattached), Samuel Piette (CD Izarra / ESP), Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps / MLS), Scott Arfield (Burnley FC / ENG), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC / MLS), David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City FC / WAL), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps / MLS), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC / MLS), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC / USL), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact / MLS), Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact / MLS), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), MIchael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers / ENG)
Forwards (1): Lucas Cavallini (CA Penarol / URU)
Manager: Octavio Zambrano (Ecuador)