Tag Archives: Costa Rica

New Post: Three keys for the #USMNT tonight against Costa Rica in Copa America

By, Kyle Gibson

After a subpar start against Colombia in Copa America Friday, the U.S. Men’s National team returns to action Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Costa Rica.

One would assume that Colombia will beat Paraguay, but the United States essentially needs a win to keep Costa Rica at one point, forcing a necessity for a Ticos win against Colombia in the final contest.

Here are three keys for Tuesday’s match-up.

1. Do not concede an early goal: 

This is a problem I didn’t include in the last game for fear of being redundant. After all, allowing early goals has plagued the U.S. in big games for years. Cristian Zapata’s eighth-minute goal from a corner again exposed the team’s penchant for allowing early goals, while also highlighting the team’s sometimes glaring set-piece weaknesses.

Costa Rica is one of the most solid teams in the tournament, so the U.S. can simply not afford to be chasing the game for long stretches.

2. No Jermaine Jones:

Jones completely lost the plot for much of his time in the game. Feeling a youthful vigor that doesn’t match his aging skill set, Jones would often rush forward, trying to take speedy Colombian defenders on. This led to plenty of dispossession and often seemed to confuse Jones’ teammates.

I would play Darlington Nagbe instead. Nagbe has been impressive in his appearances for the squad so far and has plenty of speed and technical ability.

3. Will the real Michael Bradley please stand up? 

I mentioned Bradley as a key in my last post too, but I sincerely believe that as Bradley goes, so goes the team.

Often, Bradley did not display his trademark judgement on Friday and his passes were not crisp.Hopefully for the Yanks, Tuesday will be much better for Bradley.

Bonus: We need to talk about Clint. 

Clint Dempsey just doesn’t have “it” anymore. The skill, above average speed and love of “trying s*&t,” as he used to call it, just does not seem to be present anymore in the 33-year old.

If healthy, the central spot Dempsey is filling would more than likely be filled by Jozy Altidore. I don’t think Jurgen Klinsmann will do this, but I think Bobby Wood would be much better in this spot.

Follow @KyleisGibson on Twitter. 

 

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Gary Lineker in an Italian Shirt? World Cup soccer creates strange loyalties for us all

By, Kyle Gibson

England legend turned soccer pundit Gary Lineker wasn’t exactly impartial for the BBC ahead of today’s game between Italy and Costa Rica.

The “Match of the Day” host and occasional guest for NBC Sports’ EPL coverage here in the US, sported an Italian shirt live before the match.

The English need Italy to win over Costa Rica to keep their World Cup hopes alive. In its first match, England lost 2-1 to Italy.

It’s a funny touch by Lineker, I just don’t think we’ll ever see Alexi Lalas wearing a Kevin Prince Boateng jersey on air.

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New Post: The Hair, The Myth, The Legend. Tom Huddlestone does it big for Hull City

Tom

By, Kyle Gibson

Two and a half years must have seemed like an eternity for Tom Huddlestone, the 27 year old star of the Hull City midfield. That’s the amount of time between EPL goals for Huddlestone, who scored from 18 yards out in a 6-0 thrashing of Fulham on Saturday, his birthday.

It may have appeared like a regular goal in a thrashing of a relegation team, but the goal broke a multiple season slide and is proving to be pretty expensive. See, Huddlestone hasn’t cut his hair in the length of time between goals. This has created an amusing side story to the last few months.

Now, Huddlestone is showing why he’s more than the average footballer by raising money for Cancer Research UK by cutting his hair. So far, the page has raised over 27,000 pounds from more than 1,200 donors. That’s the power of hair.

Hull City finds itself right at 10 in the EPL table at the turn of the season, the highest place of the three promoted teams, which is thanks in large part to Huddlestone.

I thought it was an interesting deal when Hull City paid about 5 million pounds for Huddlestone in August. He had fallen out of favor at Tottenham and I thought Hull could use someone like that in the midfield. The move has more than paid dividends for Hull.

To actually sit and watch Huddlestone is a pleasure in itself. He is an amazing passer and can feed the wings like few others in the EPL. He also has a great intelligence on or around the ball and is a good organizer in the midfield. He’s a joy to watch for a team that isn’t always the easiest to watch.

A question has been whispered a few times this year: “Tom Huddlestone for England?” You could easily see Huddlestone providing a spark off the bench in the games against Italy and Uruguay and maybe even starting for Costa Rica when the English hit the World Cup.

Huddlestone had better hope he doesn’t wait two and a half years before he scores again. After all, he will want his hair short for Brazil, where it tends to get a little warm.