SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, May 5, 2021) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will return to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time since 2017 and will play its first friendly on U.S. soil during a FIFA window since 2019 when it faces Concacaf rival Costa Rica on June 9.
“It is such an incredible opportunity for the state of Utah to welcome U.S. Soccer to Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake has a legacy of U.S. National Team players wearing our crest – from Eddie Pope and Jason Kreis to Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman and the new generation of players that have come through the RSL Academy,” RSL Interim President John Kimball said. “To host the match against Costa Rica is a chance to continue that legacy and is a huge credit to the Utah Department of Health for helping to ensure a safe environment for the teams and our wonderful fans. It will surely be a night to remember.”
USA-Costa Rica, presented by Allstate, will be broadcast on ESPN2, UniMás and TUDN with the kickoff time to be determined. Fans will be able to follow the match via Facebook, Twitter @USMNT and Instagram @USMNT.
The Costa Rica match, combined with the friendly away to Switzerland (May 30) and the Concacaf Nations League Final Four (June 3 and 6), will simulate a match cadence similar to what players will experience during the upcoming three-match window during the World Cup Qualifying campaign, which kicks off in September.
“Costa Rica is a competitive Concacaf team and we are looking forward to this opportunity,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “Combined with the ability to mimic the cadence of matches we will encounter in September and October, this is an important step in our preparation for the start of World Cup Qualifying.”
The staging of the camp and the match fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols. Due to the evolving conditions related to the global pandemic, capacity for the match in Sandy is currently limited to 10,000 fans. Ticket sales information will be available at a later date.
The match on June 9 will mark the fifth time the U.S. has played at Rio Tinto Stadium and the sixth time it has played in Utah since Real Salt Lake’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer in 2005.
USMNT IN SLC
Salt Lake City has its own piece of USA-Costa Rica history, having hosted a World Cup qualifying encounter on the road to the 2006 tournament in Germany. Two goals from Landon Donovan, an insurance strike from current USMNT general manager Brian McBride and world-class saves from Kasey Keller led the USA to a 3-0 shutout before 40,586 boisterous fans on June 4, 2005, at Rice Eccles Stadium.
In total, Utah has hosted three World Cup Qualifiers. The USMNT has been successful in all, scoring six goals while surrendering only one through three matches. Overall, the USA is 4-0-1 in the Beehive State.
June 4, 2005 – USA 3-0 Costa Rica, World Cup Qualifying (Rice Eccles Stadium)
Sept. 5, 2009 – USA 2-1 El Salvador, World Cup Qualifying
June 18, 2013 – USA 1-0 Honduras, World Cup Qualifying
July 13, 2013 – USA 4-1 Cuba, Concacaf Gold Cup
June 3, 2017 – USA 1-1 Venezuela, Friendly
June 9, 2021 – USA vs. Costa Rica, Friendly
BACK TO BACK?
The meeting in the shadows of the Wasatch Mountain Range could be a rematch on only three days notice, as both the United States and Costa Rica advanced to the final four of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League. In the semifinal stage being contested June 3 in Denver, the USMNT faces Honduras while Costa Rica lines up against Mexico. With both a Championship and Third Place Match on the docket for June 6, it’s possible these teams will be quite familiar heading into the showdown at Rio Tinto Stadium.
ONE UP ON THE TICOS
Heading into this summer, the USMNT have a narrow 17-16-5 edge in the series through a rich history of 38 matches played since 1975.
There have been numerous legendary moments in that time, with 29 of the encounters taking place across three different competitions: FIFA World Cup Qualifying, the Concacaf Gold Cup and Copa America Centenario. Perhaps the most memorable meeting was in the Snowclasico, a 1-0 win in snowy conditions during qualifying for the 2014 World Cup that reignited a sometimes-fiery rivalry. MLS has also served as a breeding ground of familiarity for these opponents, as more than 50 Costa Ricans have played in the league.
FIRST UP: SWITZERLAND
In its final match before the Concacaf Nations League Final Four, the U.S. Men’s National Team will take on the challenge of facing No. 16-ranked Switzerland on May 30 in St. Gallen. ESPN, UniMás and TUDN will cover the match live from kybunpark beginning at 8 p.m. ET
Fans will be able to follow the match via Facebook, Twitter @USMNT, Instagram @USMNT and the official U.S. Soccer App.
The match against Switzerland represents the sixth time the USMNT will face a Top 20 opponent since Berhalter became head coach in 2019. Led by Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, the Swiss are gearing up for the European Championship where they have been drawn into Group A with four-time World Cup champion Italy, Turkey and Wales.
COMPETITION COMING UP
The USMNT is gearing up for three significant competitions in 2021, beginning with the Concacaf Nations League final four. Winners of League A’s Group A, the USMNT takes on Honduras in one semifinal, while Mexico and Costa Rica will square off in the other, with the winners competing for the inaugural Nations League title. The matches are scheduled for the FIFA window in the first week of June, with the venues and times still to be determined.
The following month, the U.S. will compete in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup in search of its seventh confederation championship title. The USMNT has been drawn into Group A with Canada, Martinique and a third team to be determined through a qualifying tournament. The United States last lifted the trophy in 2017, when Jordan Morris netted the game-winner against Jamaica in the 2-1 victory.
Those games serve as prelude to the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which will feature an eight-team final round and commence in Sept. of 2021.