Costa Rica emphasizes youth in squad for match against USA

Costa Rican national team coach Ronald Gonzalez picked seven current and five former MLS players for the friendly the Ticos will play against the USA on Feb. 1 in Carson, California.

For the first game of the year for both teams, however, Gonzalez emphasized his rebuilding program and the experience the young players he picked will gain.

Eight players are eligible for the Ticos' U-23s, who will open Concacaf Olympic Qualifying against the USA: defenders Pablo Arboine and Kevin Espinoza, midfielders Christopher Nunez, Bernard Alfaro, Luis Diaz, Randall Leal (photo) and Marvin Loria and 17-year-old forward Manfred Ugalde.

Diaz (Columbus), Leal (Nashville SC) and Loria (Portland) will play in MLS in 2020.

Costa Rica Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Esteban Alvarado (Herediano), Aaron Cruz (Saprissa), Luis Alpizar (Jicaral).
DEFENDERS (8): Keysher Fuller (Herediano), Keyner Brown (Herediano), Jeikel Venegas (Cartagines), Giancarlo Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Pablo Arboine (San Carlos), Kevin Espinoza (Guadalupe), Joseph Mora (D.C. United), Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC).
MIDFIELDERS (10): David Guzman (Saprissa), Johan Venegas (Saprissa), Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano), Christopher Nunez (Cartagines), Bernard Alfaro (Alajuelense), Luis Diaz (Columbus Crew), Ulises Segura (D.C. United), Randall Leal (Nashville SC), Marvin Loria (Portland Timbers), Ariel Lassiter (Alajuelense).
FORWARDS (2): Marco Urena (Alajuelense), Manfred Ugalde (Saprissa).

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