Francisco Calvo - Costa Rica - vs. Serbia in World Cup 2018
Dylan Martinez-Reuters

Three MLSers start for Costa Rica in World Cup opener vs. Serbia

Costa Rica called on several members of their sizeable MLS-based contingent in their World Cup opener vs. Serbia on Sunday, but no one in red and blue could prevent the game-winner, a brilliantly-struck free kick from range by fullback Aleksandar Kolarov.

Minnesota United's Francisco Calvo (pictured at top) got the start as the left wingback in the Ticos' 3-4-2-1 formation and played well despite earning a booking for an early foul on Dusan Tadic. Portland's David Guzman (who also picked up a yellow card) was deployed in his usual central midfield tasking and LAFC's Marco Ureña led the line in his typical lone striker role.

Los Ticos enjoyed plenty of the ball, matching Serbia in terms of possession, and Ureña uncorked a few shots, but none of them troubled goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic excessively. Guzman and Ureña made way in the second half for Daniel Colindres and Joel Campbell, respectively.

Johan Venegas, who's on the books at Minnesota but currently on loan at Deportivo Saprissa, also earned a start in an attacking role before being replaced by former Vancouver Whitecap Christian Bolaños in the 60th minute.

NYCFC's Rodney Wallace and Vancouver's Kendall Waston were unused substitutes, though Waston got involved in the action in one sense, rising from the bench to confront Nemanja Matic after the Serbian midfielder clashed with a member of Costa Rica’s coaching staff over a ball that had rolled out of bounds for a throw-in, sparking a minor melee.

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