Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Group E:  June 17th vs Serbia & June 22nd vs Brazil

Seriously who doesn’t love Costa Rica?  I want to know.

Fun facts about Costa Rica:

  • The Republic of Costa Rica abolished their military in 1949.
  • The nation is listed in various happiness indexes as having one of the most content populations on earth as well as being one of the most environmentally sustainable.
  • They are the source of beautifully delicious coffee enjoyed worldwide.
  • The country has 6 active volcanos.
  • The nickname for a person from Costa Rica is a Tico or Tica. Rooted in the Costa Rican Spanish diminutive “-ico” in contrast to other Spanish speaking countries’ use of “-ito”. The term indicates fondness or affection.

Los Ticos boast 5 players* on their current men’s national team from MLS and one HUGELY famous keeper for Real Madrid:

  • Francisco Calvo, Defender, Minnesota United
  • David Guzman, Midfielder, Portland Timbers
  • Marco Ureña, Forward, LAFC
  • Rodney Wallace, Midfielder, NYCFC
  • Kendall Waston, Defender, Vancouver Whitecaps
  • *Ronald Matarrita Defender, NYCFC was injured in training and replaced by Kenner Gutierrez
  • Keylor Navas, Goalkeeper, Real Madrid

So in other words, the players have soccer hermaniticos across the US, Europe and Latin America.

Costa Rica defeated the United States Men’s National Team in a 2018 World Cup qualifier making them partially responsible for the absence of the US team in this tournament.  Okay, well if you’re going to throw shade at them for any reason, that’s the only acceptable one.

A sea of Ticos flags in New Jersey
A sea of Costa Rican flags pre-gaming the USMNT vs Costa Rica World Cup qualifier in 2017.

However, Los Ticos’ first match of the World Cup versus Serbia ended as a 0-1 loss. Sadly the team failed to gain any solid attacking momentum against Serbia, who are a strong team who fly under the radar.

Yet, the result that hurt my heart much more deeply is the 0-2 loss to Brazil because they held them to a 0-0 draw until injury time.  Keylor Navas still has my vote for MVP of his group, if not the tournament thus-far, for his 90 minutes of denying Brazil’s offense.

Yes, he ended up letting in 2 goals in the end but most of the match felt like Navas against the entire Brazil team.  Costa Rica had about 3 counter-attack chances that fizzled out but most of the game was about defending and having one of the best keepers in the world as your last defense.

What a horrible way to lose and have all your World Cup dreams dashed.  To hold Brazil to nil-nil until 91 minutes and then lose.  I have to say that this one hurt and Neymar’s diving and whining was the salt in the wound.

As of now the group looks like this:

Keira Smith - Costa Rica/mlsfemale

Now Costa Rica will play their last match of the tournament Wednesday, June 27th against Switzerland in a match that can’t save their World Cup dreams but may affect the results in the group.  If Costa Rica gets a win against Switzerland and if Serbia defeats Brazil, Switzerland could be out of the tournament.  Chocolate and coffee do go well together…

Featured image: mlsfemale

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