SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The US Men’s National Team will host Costa Rica in a pivotal friendly on June 9th at Rio Tinto Stadium, the US Soccer Federation announced.
International Icons At The RioT
The match will be open to 10,000 fans and will be broadcast on ESPN 2, UniMás, and TUDN. Ticket sales information, kickoff time, and other game-specific details will be announced at a later date.
“Costa Rica is a competitive Concacaf team and we are looking forward to this opportunity,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “Combined with the ability to mimic the cadence of matches we will encounter in September and October, this is an important step in our preparation for the start of World Cup Qualifying.”
The match is slated to play an important role in the preparation for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers in September of this year. Given the unfortunate ending to the last World Cup qualification process, the preparation ahead of this attempt is magnified.
“It’s always special when you represent your country, to put that badge on and especially to play in front of your home fans like I was able to do against Cuba,” former RSL goalkeeper and current Academy Coach Nick Rimando told KSL Sports. “Every cap means something you put on that that crest, for a reason, you represent your country, your club, your fans, and I’m sure all the players that come here to Utah for that game, they’ll be doing the exact same.”
The USA and Costa Rica have a rich history as the US currently holds a one-game advantage over their CONCACAF rivals with an overall record of 17-16-5. The last fixture between the two nations occurred earlier this year at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles when the US won 1-0 in a friendly.
US vs. Costa Rica History
The last meaningful encounter between the two countries came in a World Cup qualifier in which Costa Rica won 2-0.
It will be a busy week for the USMNT who will be in Denver, Colorado on June 3 to play Honduras in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Nations League. Costa Rica also advanced to the semifinals and is scheduled to play Mexico on the same day. If the US and Costa Rica advance, they will play one and another on June 6th in the final. But, if either team loses their semifinal encounter they will still play on June 6 in a third-place match.
Then, just three days later, they will take each other on at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Every game is crucial, whether it be coming off the nation’s league that’s gonna be played in Denver, which is for four games against big opponents and CONCACAF which is Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mexico,” Rimando said. “With what happened last year with the pandemic, there weren’t a lot of games so the guys are raring to go wanting to get these games going and obviously qualify for the World Cup.”
Prior to the encounters in Denver and Sandy, Utah, the US is also slated to take on Switzerland on May 30th away from home at AFG Arena in St. Gallen, Switzerland in a friendly.
All games lead to one goal, qualifying for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup. Later this year in September, the US will begin their quest to qualify and will likely lean and rely on the experiences they learned during the summer months to further assist their cause.