U.S. team news

Yellow cards don't worry Costa Rica

September 6, 2013
By Jeff Carlisle

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- He has 10 available players carrying yellow cards into Friday's crucial CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifying match versus the United States (ESPN Deportes Radio, 10 p.m. ET), but Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto says he does not plan to be cautious on the pitch for this rematch.

"If we have to get one, two or four cards, we are going to get them and forget about everything else," Pinto said during a prematch news conference Thursday. "I want our team to go into this match with our blood running hot but with cool heads."

Neither would U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann be baited, despite the fact that if any one of his eight players with yellow cards is cautioned, he will be forced to miss Tuesday's match against Mexico.

"We're not holding back by any means," Klinsmann said. "It [the players with yellow cards] doesn't [affect] our lineup. It's about Costa Rica. It's about that game, and whatever happens on Friday night, we will adjust then to the Mexico game."

Costa Rica can clinch its first World Cup berth since 2006 with two wins this week (U.S. and Jamaica on Tuesday). The United States can secure its World Cup berth with four points from its next two games.

On Wednesday, Klinsmann expressed his annoyance with CONCACAF's officiating selection of Mexico's Marco Antonio Rodriguez.

"I don't doubt that Marco Antonio Rodriguez is a great referee," Klinsmann said. "But at the same time, there is something I can't get out of my head. I have eight players with a yellow card, and four days later we face Mexico. Truthfully, I don't like this."

Pinto, who runs a similar risk with potentially lost players, would only say that "the Mexican referees show advanced international experience. I have been in many matches with him. He is everywhere. I welcome him."

Besides the pressure of qualifying, Pinto said the entire country of Costa Rica is eager to avenge the 1-0 CONCACAF qualifying loss to the United States in March in blizzard-like conditions in Colorado. Costa Rica has 11 points in six Hex matches with its only loss coming in Colorado.

"[Anger over the loss] is part of soccer. This feeling that the country has transmitted we are all feeling," said Pinto. "It is a historic moment for us. We have to have control of the match at all times."

Following the U.S. victory, CONCACAF denied a formal protest from the Costa Ricans that the fixture be postponed due to the bad weather.

Klinsmann repeated Thursday that he "didn't call God to give us some snow."

Costa Rican chief of police Juan Jose Andrade said Thursday he will put 500 agents in and around the Estadio Nacional and key gathering places in San Jose as extra security.

Costa Rican fans greeted the U.S. team bus in San Jose on Tuesday night with jeers, eggs and chants such as "No fair play."

The U.S., first in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, takes on Mexico on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio (ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio, 8 p.m. ET)

The Americans have won their past 12 matches and lead the CONCACAF group with 13 points from six Hexagonal qualifying matches. Klinsmann's team is coming off a recent Gold Cup championship victory.

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