For Costa Rica, the 2007 Gold Cup opener against Canada Wednesday night at Miami's Orange Bowl is a repeat of its 2003 and 2005 opening games.
The Ticos opened against Canada both times. Canada won, 1-0, in Foxboro
in 2003, and the Ticos prevailed by the same score two years later in
Like Canada, Costa Rica is a team in transition. Gone is Coach Alexandre Guimaraes, who led the
Ticos at the 2002 and 2006 World Cup and will coach Panama at the 2007
Gold Cup. Star Paulo Wanchope
announced his international retirement after the 2006 World Cup and is
now playing for FC Tokyo in Japan.
Former Costa Rica star Hernan Medford
leads the Ticos in his first major international tournament as national
team coach. In February, they won their third straight Central American
championship. For the
Gold Cup, Costa Rica will be at close to full strength with 11
the 2006 World Cup and four players based overseas, including former
Los Angeles Galaxy defender Pablo
Chinchilla, who now plays in Austria. Johnny Cubero of Guatemalan club
Xelaju was a late replacement for Bryan
Ruiz, who suffered a broken collarbone in last Saturday's 2-0
win over Chile in San Jose. Mario
Camacho was called in for Alonso
Solis (foot injury) after the Ticos were unable to secure the
release of the Columbus Crew's Andy
Medford will count on playmaker Walter
Centeno, who played at
both the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, and Rolando
Fonseca, the Ticos'
all-time leading scorer with 46 goals, to lead Costa Rica in its
revamped 3-5-2 formation.
Medford's goal is to win the Gold Cup -- no Central American team has
ever won the competition -- but he is also looking ahead to qualifying
for the 2010 World Cup.
"We have a combination of young players and veterans," he says.
"They'll allow us to work for the future."
GOLD CUP RECORD:
Record: 10 wins, 12 losses, 7
COSTA RICA ROSTER:
Goalkeepers: Wardy Alfrado
(Alajuelense), Dexter Lewis (Perez Zeledon), Jose Francisco Porras
Defenders: Allan Aleman
(Saprissa), Gabriel Badilla (Saprissa), Pablo
Chinchilla (Cash Point SCR/AUT), Victor Cordero (Saprissa), Jervis
Drummond (Saprissa), Jose Freddy Fernandez (Perez Zeledon),
Leonardo Gonzalez (Herediano), Michael Umana
(Herediano), Harold Wallace (Alajuelense);
Midfielders: Randall Azofeifa
(Gent/BEL), Michael Barrantes
(Puntarenas), Christan Bolanos (Saprissa), Walter Centeno (Saprissa),
Andres Nunez (Saprissa), Rodolfo Rodriguez (Brujas);
Forwards: Mario Camacho
(Puntarenas), Johnny Cubero
(Xelaju/GUA), Rolando Fonseca
(Alajuelense), Windell Gabriel (Perez Zeledon), Alvaro Saborio
Coach: Hernan MEDFORD.