Costa Rica made easy work of their 2019 Gold Cup opener on Sunday, sweeping aside Nicaragua 4-0 to delight the home crowd at Estadio Nacional in San Jose on the occasion of the tournament's first-ever matches to be played outside the United States, Mexico or Canada.
Heavily favored, Los Ticos made sure it was a festive evening via a strong start, with a 7th-minute opener from Bryan Oviedo and two more goals via Celso Borges and Elias Aguilar providing a 3-0 halftime advantage.
Handed a start at the heart of the hosts' midfield, FC Cincinnati's Allan Cruz capped the comfortable victory with the fourth goal of the night, rifling a firm finish off the underside of the crossbar in the 75th minute.
- 7' – CRC – Bryan Oviedo
- 19' – CRC – Celso Borges
- 45+1' – CRC – Elias Aguilar
- 75' – CRC – Allan Cruz
- THE BIG PICTURE: This was not a night for underdogs. Los Pinoleros, while hard-working, showed why this is just their third Gold Cup appearance in program history. Costa Rica weren't severely tested but showed organization, cleverness and razor-sharp counterattacking nous that could take them far in this tournament.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ticos veteran Celso Borges pushed the score to 2-0 and set the tone for the evening with this long-range missile, made possible by some solid hold-up play from Jonathan McDonald:
OH. MY. 😳— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 17, 2019
What a strike by Celso Borges 🚀🚀🚀
Los Ticos captain puts Costa Rica up by 2 in the first half. pic.twitter.com/sd2OsQcKG0
- MAN OF THE MATCH: With a lovely goal, an assist on the night's opener and industrious midfield work throughout, Allan Cruz is a worthy choice.
- CRC: Thursday, June 20 vs. Bermuda (9:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN; TSN GO in Canada) | Gold Cup
- NCA: Thursday, June 20 vs. Haiti (7 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN; TSN GO in Canada) | Gold Cup