Gold Cup overlay - Tosaint Ricketts - Francisco Calvo
USA Today Sports

Despite goals from MLSers, missed opportunities hurting Ticos at Gold Cup

HOUSTON - The two goals Costa Rica has scored in this year’s Gold Cup are not representative of the number of opportunities the Ticos have actually had.

Both came from individual moments of brilliance. And after a group-opening win, this time a set piece goal from defender Francisco Calvo was only enough for a 1-1 draw against Canada on Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium despite an otherwise dominating performance.

The Ticos had 20 shots -- 10 on target -- and the majority of possession, including 303 passes in the attacking half.

Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez said afterward that Canadian 'keeper Milan Borjan had a big part in Canada's draw, and the stats prove it. Borjan had nine saves, including several stellar stops after halftime to keep the match level.

Ramirez cautioned it was side’s second game after having a long layoff, saying it's not an excuse but something to take note of. 

Calvo, who scored his third national team goal, had another take on the situation.

“In short tournaments, like the Gold Cup, I don’t know how many games end 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0. They’re usually scrappy games,” the Minnesota United FC captain said. “All the national teams know each other because we’re from the same region and the games tend to be very close.”

Statistically speaking, Costa Rica played better than against in their 1-0 opening win against, decided by a goal from Marco Ureña of the San Jose Earthquakes.

“The important part in a tournament like this is to go from less to more," said Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz. "Against Honduras, we won but didn’t create many scoring opportunities. Today we created more scoring opportunities and know we have to work on finishing them off.”

Despite only scoring twice so far, Ramirez remained insistent that his team is here to capture the Gold Cup. 

“We’re not on a plan like the US is, who’s using this tournament to test out new players for competition down the road,” Ramirez said. “We’re taking it game by game and today we’re on the door of qualifying for the next round.”