Costa Rica vs. Panama
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pa.
6 pm ET – Wednesday, July 19
WATCH: FS1, UniMás, UDN
Fox Sports GO, FOX Soccer Match Pass, TSN GO, univisiondeportes.com
Two contenders for Russia 2018 will test their mettle in a high-stakes CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday night as they each seek to become the first Central American nation to win the Gold Cup.
Costa Rica are in the early game in Philadelphia after topping Group A, which also contained Canada, Honduras and French Guiana. Panama, meanwhile, are in the game after finishing second in Group B, behind the United States but above Martinique and Nicaragua. The winner of this match will face the winner of Wednesday night's rubber match in Philadelphia between the United States and El Salvador.
Like their fellow Hex counterparts USA, Mexico and Honduras, both Costa Rica and Panama have opted to take a look at a number of younger players (though both also brought some of their stars on the rosters). So far, those players – such as New York City FC midfielder Miguel Camargo for Panama and Costa Rican forward duo Ariel Rodriguez and David Ramirez – have delivered. If they want to go on and secure their spots in September’s potentially decisive World Cup qualifiers, a strong showing in a continental quarterfinal would go a long way.
Interestingly enough, this will also be the first meeting between the sides in Gold Cup play, though they have met over 40 times in a rivalry that dates back to 1938.
Perhaps fitting for the group that relied so much on teamwork and organization in their improbable run to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals, Costa Rica have spread the goalscoring love around. Each of their five goals in the group stage were scored by different players, with three MLS-based players getting in on the act: Marco Urena (San Jose Earthquakes), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United) and Rodney Wallace (NYCFC).
That team ethos may well have to continue for Costa Rica if they are to fulfill their hopes of a deep run. Four regulars for Los Ticos – Minnesota attacker Johan Venegas and the UK-based trio of Joel Campbell, Cristian Gamboa and Bryan Oviedo – were all forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury. Additionally, Vancouver playmaker Christian Bolanos was slated to be one of the replacements, but withdrew after the Whitecaps asked that he remain with the club as he makes his way back from a shoulder injury.
Currently, Vancouver center back Kendall Waston is set to join a domestic-based trio – Jhamir Ordain, Jimmy Marin and Jose Leiton – as the four injury replacements for Costa Rica in the knockout rounds.
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), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Palermo / ITA), Kenner Guiterrez (Alajuelense), Jhamir Ordain (Herediano)*, Jose Salvatierra (Alajuelense), Michael Umaña (unattached), Juan Pablo Vargas (Herediano), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps / CAN)*
Midfielders (7): Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), David Guzman (Portland Timbers / USA), Jimmy Marin (Herediano)*, Bryan Ruiz (Sporting CP / POR), Ulises Segura (Saprissa), Yeltsin Tejeda (FC Lausanne-Sport / SUI), Rodney Wallace (New York City FC / USA)
*NOTE: Knockout round addition, did not participate in group stage.
Manager: Oscar Ramirez (Costa Rica)
Much like their Central American neighbors, the effect of MLSers was heavily felt as Los Canaleros only narrowly missed out on a group win.
Camargo has been a particularly bright light for Panama, picking up a goal in their group-opening draw against the USA and adding an assist in each of their two group wins – against Nicaragua and Martinique. Not to be outdone, New York Red Bulls right back Michael Murillo also got himself on the scoresheet against Martinique.
Now, though, Panama must prepare to find the net against an opponent that will provide a much stiffer test than either of their last two group opponents
Goalkeepers (3): Jose Calderon (CD Marathon / HON), Orlando Mosquera (Tauro FC), Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC)
Defenders (8): Roberto Chen (Deportivo Arabe Unido), Eric Davis (Dunajska Streda / SVK), Fidel Escobar (Unattached), Roderick Miller (Atlético Nacional / COL), Michael Amir Murillo (New York Red Bulls / USA), Luis Ovalle (Unattached); Angel Patrick (Deportivo Arabe Unido), Jan Carlos Vargas (Tauro FC)
Midfielders (8): Edgar Yoel Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula / MEX), Miguel Camargo (New York City FC / USA), Armando Cooper (Toronto FC / CAN), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes / USA), Gabriel Gomez (Atlético Bucaramanga / COL), Leslie Heraldez (Deportivo Arabe Unido), Josiel Nuñez (CD Plaza Amador), Valentin Pimentel (CD Plaza Amador)
Fowards (4): Abdiel Arroyo (Danubio FC / URU), Ricardo Clarke (Unattached), Ismael Diaz (FC Porto / POR); Gabriel Torres (FC Lausanne-Sport / SUI)
Manager: Hernan Dario Gomez (Colombia)