U.S. vs. Costa Rica match preview
The United States plays a pair of friendlies in the next week: Friday versus Costa Rica at the Home Depot Center (11 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com), and Tuesday against Belgium in Brussels (2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN.com). Here are five notes ahead of the match against Los Ticos:
* The all-time series between the U.S. and Costa Rica is even at 11-11-6, but all 11 American wins have come at home. The U.S. is undefeated (7-0-3) in 10 straight home games versus Costa Rica, last losing in 1995, 2-1 in Tampa.
* That 1995 match was the last friendly between these teams, with the 10 meetings since then all coming in the Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying. The U.S. has won only one of its six friendlies against Costa Rica, a 1-0 triumph in San Antonio in 1988.
* This is the first meeting between these countries since their dramatic World Cup qualifying draw in October 2009, when Jonathan Bornstein tied the score in the 95th minute. While the U.S. had already secured a World Cup berth, Bornstein's goal made him a national hero in Honduras, as his tally sent Los Catrachos to their first World Cup since 1982 and doomed Costa Rica to an eventual playoff loss against Uruguay.
* Coming off a loss and a tie against Mexico, the U.S. seeks to avoid going winless in three straight games against CONCACAF opposition for the first time in 10 years, since losing three consecutive World Cup qualifiers to Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica in 2001.
* Landon Donovan will play only in the Costa Rica match, while Kyle Beckerman, Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey will join the team in Europe for the Belgium match. With 46 international goals, Donovan has more career goals than the other 20 Americans on the roster for the Costa Rica game. They have a combined 37 goals, led by Jozy Altidore and Carlos Bocanegra with 12 goals apiece.