SANDY, Utah – Three of Real Salt Lake’s four internationals will be in action on Friday night, with captain Kyle Beckerman, goalkeeper Nick Rimando and the U.S. national team taking on forward Alvaro Saborio and Costa Rica in a crucial CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier at 8:00 p.m. MT at Estadio Nacional in San Jose. The match will be televised live on beIN Sport.
The U.S. currently sits in first-place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, two points ahead of second-place Costa Rica with four games remaining. The U.S. could clinch a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with a win at Costa Rica coupled with a Mexico draw at home against Honduras and a Panama draw or loss at home against Jamaica. That’s not entirely likely, of course – along with the fact that the U.S. has never won a qualifier at Costa Rica, both Mexico and Panama are favored to win their matches.
Costa Rica – which missed on the 2010 World Cup in part due to a stoppage time goal from the U.S. to tie Los Ticos 2-2 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. in the final game of the Hex – would move into first-place in CONCACAF with a win tonight. Claret-and-Cobalt leading scorer Alvaro Saborio figures to play a major role for Costa Rica, which has been engaging in quite a bit of gamesmanship ahead of the match following the U.S.’s controversial 1-0 “SnowClasico” win over Costa Rica in Denver in March.
The U.S. and Costa Rica will both return to action on Tuesday, with the U.S. hosting Mexico at Crew Stadium in Columbus and Costa Rica taking on Jamaica at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
RSL’s fourth international, Gambian defender Abdoulie Mansally, will wrap up qualification on Saturday, when Gambia will host Tanzania in its final match of the second round of CAF qualifying. Gambia has already been eliminated from advancing to the third – and final – round of African qualifiers.
All four of Real Salt Lake’s internationals will return to the Claret-and-Cobalt ahead of the team’s next match at Seattle next Friday, Sept. 13.