NEW YORK – Rodney Wallace knows all about playing in front of a hostile crowd at Red Bull Arena.
The New York City FC winger started both of the 2017 New York Derby matches at the rival Red Bulls, recording an assist in NYCFC’s 2-0 win in New Jersey on June 24 and playing 79 minutes in the sides’ 1-1 draw last Friday.
Wallace is hoping for another positive result at Red Bull Arena on Friday, when he’ll be a part of Costa Rica’s squad for a crucial World Cup qualifier against the US national team (6:30 pm ET | ESPN, Univision, UniMas). And while there’s a sizable Costa Rican population in the New York area, Wallace is expecting a full-throated US crowd in Harrison on Friday.
“There’s a lot of Costa Ricans in New Jersey. I don’t know how many of them are going to be let into the stadium,” he said. “It’s going to be an away game and we’re prepared for that. If there are many Costa Rican fans then that will be good for us.”
The US and Costa Rica last met just over a month ago, when Clint Dempsey helped lead the Americans to a 2-0 win at AT&T Stadium in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals. Wallace, star attacker Joel Campbell and Minnesota United forward Johan Venegas all missed that match due to injury.
“I don’t think that game has anything to do with this one coming in,” Wallace said. “I don’t think it carried any momentum into this. We obviously want to get the three points and we know it’s a tough opponent, but at the same time we have to come out confident and know we’re capable of doing that.”
“Obviously there were some factors and you can’t make excuses, but you also can’t dwell on the past,” he continued. “I think we have to move forward. It will be a whole different environment and a completely different game.”
Costa Rica enters the upcoming round of qualifiers sitting in second in the Hex with 11 points. They’re three points behind first-place Mexico, but only three ahead of a US team that’s undefeated in 14 matches since Bruce Arena took over last November.
Despite being away, Wallace said the Ticos, who blasted the US 4-0 in San Jose in Jurgen Klinsmann’s final game as US coach, will try to play on the front foot on Friday night.
“You have to be confident and you have to know coming in here, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s something we want to do, we want to come here to get the three points,” Wallace said. “It’s not like we’re going to come here and sit back and back down and hope for a result. We’re going to go look for the game and take it to them.”