Do or die. Wait? Is the second game of a grouping in the Copa América Centenario really a must win? Well, it might be when the USMNT take on a tough Costa Rican squad on FoxSports1 Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. The men lost to Columbia 2-0 in their first game last Friday, while Costa Rica tied Paraguay 0-0. Given that Columbia might have a second-round berth locked up when they play Costa Rica, the USMNT can not leave their fate resting in the hands of others.
How can the USMNT accomplish the feat? Well, the United States hasn’t lost to Costa Rica at home in an official competition since 1989 – a span of 15 matches. This includes a pair of 1-0 shutouts in 2013. The Snow Classico in Denver during World Cup Qualifying in March 2013, which the Ticos are not bound to forget and forgive anytime soon. And, the followed Brek Shea strike game that pushed the USMNT towards the 2013 Gold Cup title.
Here are my three keys to success for the Tuesday game against Costa Rica:
Pass the ball to our team in the final third (attackers). Novel idea, right? However, it needs to be said after passing and possession was horrendous against Columbia. We need Michael Bradley and our midfield - whether it be Jermaine Jones or Alejandro Bedoya - to be the connection from back line to the front line with clean, crisp movement through passing.
This team does not need to wait until they dig themselves a hole to start playing hard. The first half destroyed the USMNT's chances last Friday. So, it is imperative to keep Costa Rica out of the U.S. end in the first half to garner some momentum.
Play players where they thrive instead of attempting to out-smart yourself. Bobby Wood was played wide on Friday night, which did not help the team. Do you keep Clint Dempsey on? Or does it make more sense to bring in young talent like Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe? I believe Dempsey has earned the right to take the pitch, but other players can be put in that nine position.
The USMNT can charge to the top of the group standings (for a short while) with three points tonight as the Colombia and Paraguay match is set to start at 10:30 p.m. EST. If they follow the above keys, then they just might.
For more information on all the Copa América Centenario, visit: www.ca2016.com/. The USMNT take the field in their final group game on Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m. against Paraguay.