Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica’

An Audience With King Jonathan Of Honduras

Since the US faces Honduras on January 23rd, TSG spent a few minutes with international hero Jonathan Bornstein at USMNT training camp yesterday. It was Johnny B’s header in the dying moments versus Costa Rica in the final World Cup qualifier that stunned the Ticos, capped an emotional come-from-behind draw for the US and propelled Honduras into the World Cup finals.

TSG was curious whether Bornstein thought he would get any special treatment from the Hondurans should he take the field versus Los Catrachos. Say, might they let him walk one into the goal at the start for all he did for their country?

After a chuckle the US defender said, “I don’t think so. There will be a positive reception but they are not going to give anything away in terms of on-the-field stuff. It will be more positive off-the-field.”

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US vs. Costa Rica: Charlie Davies Strong

Nice touch. A drained USMNT thanks it supporters...and Tim Howard in cowboy hat!)

Nice touch. A drained USMNT, with Big T in a cowboy hat, thanks it supporters

“Adversity is the first path to truth.” – Lord Byron

The above quote was considered when TSG was writing an email to Charlie Davies (charliedavies9@yahoo.com) yesterday. Ultimately, CD9 received a different quote about “seizing fate by the throat”, but Lord Byron’s words proved to be excellent shorthand or even prophetic for last night’s match between the USMNT and Costa Rica.

These truths were revealed to USMNT fans last night:

Heart and courage are not in short supply for the USMNT

In a game that seemed to mean everything and nothing at the same time the USMNT exemplified what it will take for their injured mate to make his way back to the game he loves.

You want heart? A 95th minute equalizer with the US playing a man down by an oft-maligned left back…there you go.

The US was staring adversity straight in the face going into the game last night. No one would have blamed the US for whatever type of game they played given the events of the past 48 hours, especially  after putting themselves in a two-goal hole midway through the first half. But the Yanks fight to the whistle no matter how many goals they are down nor how many men they have on the field.

Jeers turned to cheers for Jonny with one knock of the noggin

Jeers turned to cheers for JB versus CR

The USMNT and Coach Bob Bradley play to win

Need proof? Bradley sent a clear message with his starting line-up. Eight of eleven starters, including iron man Tim Howard, carried over from Honduras. Only absent were Davies, Spector and Clark. The RB was most likely replaced by Cherundolo for performance while Feilhaber for Clark was an effort to control more possession at home.

More proof? After picking up an early yellow Jozy Altidore never left the pitch. Picking up a second would have led to a disqualification for the first WC match, but Bradley chose to remind Jozy of that (including telling him not to lift his shirt in celebration to reveal his “Davies” jersey) instead of replacing him. Bradley was rewarded for his choice as the youngster played a tremendous game.

Still not convinced? I’ll give you two final pieces of evidence. 1) Coach Bradley’s subs – offense, offense, offense. and 2) Late game hero Johnny Bornstein in his own words, “I don’t normally go up for corner kicks. Usually I stay back,but for that one, I was like, `I’m getting in there. This is a last-shot effort.’”

I think Bradley went convincingly for a win as a result being committed to win the region, out of respect for CONCACAF (and Honduras) and, if only a small motivation, Charlie Davies.

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Orange Wedges: USA – Costa Rica

Orange Wedges is TSG’s game day post that will be updated until the start of the match.

Hopefully, well see a lot of this tonight for Charlie in a USMNT win.

Hopefully we'll see Jozy and the boys do a lot of this in Charlie's honor tonight.

TSG kicks off a somber Orange Wedges this morning with the latest from Grant Wahl of SI.com on US striker Charlie Davies. Anyone going to the game (as well as those at home or in bars), please support The 9th Minute Salute.

It’s hard to write about the game when the team’s 23-year-old spark-plug is lying in a hospital bed following a horrific accident and after I just met Charlie’s proud father this past Saturday while watching the Honduras match.

Matthew adds:

Through the technology of Twitter, a decidedly smaller but quite zealous fanbase, and a landmark victory on Saturday where he pronounced the US fit beforehand to raise the World Cup, the world of Charlie Davies feels and is tangibly close to US fans.

Some might suggest that USMNT fans don’t really know Charlie, but we certainly know a lot more about him than most athletes of his stature because that’s the way he wants it. His connection to, and the support of US fans is strong and hopefully that will provide some encouragement during his recovery.

Wednesday afternoon updates on Davies:

Stephen Goff of the Washington Post via Twitter: Greetings from RFK. Davies condition unchanged. Bradley visited him this morning. USSF says he was in back seat with seatbelt.

Grant Wahl of SI.com via Twitter: At RFK for US-CR. Davies update: Described as being “responsive” (handsqueezes), still serious but stable cond. Wore seatbelt, in back seat.

Shout out to Freedom High School (Orlando, FL) student Bree McDonald, who’s making her own way back from a serious car accident. Inspirational.

On to the game, I guess…

(most recent updates are posted at the top)

  • Stu Holden is ready to go and represent for CD: Game time folks, getting pumped. Look out for the stanky leg 4 Charlie D! USA USA (via Twitter)
  • Break-out the slicker and galoshes (again), weather.com is forecasting a 70% chance of rain at the start. (As others have mentioned, bring those #9s in a plastic sleeve.) From Matt: Soggy turf favors the home side Yanks in this one. Our prospective forwards and central d’s are stronger in the box on the up and over balls. On the wings, this will make quick staccato runs from the Costa Ricans just a little bit harder.
  • The US has managed to dodge any yellow card accumulation trouble in the last three matches. As Grant Wahl reported earlier this week via Twitter, yellow card accumulation doesn’t matter anymore. Only a sending off tonight (via a straight red or two yellows) would lead to a suspension at next summer’s World Cup for the offending player.
  • As for the starting pair up-top, we are sticking with our original forecast of Altidore and Casey with Cooper subbing in the second half.
  • A win by the US will clinch first place in the region. With Mexico only a point behind and playing Trinidad & Tobago it will be unlikely for the US to remain in first without the three points. Honduras which sits in 4th place, two points behind Costa Rica, visits El Salvador this evening and will be rooting hard for the team that knocked them off this past Saturday.
  • Kick-off is 5:05pm Pacific and the game can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN360 (amazing, I know)
  • From this outsider’s perspective, the USMNT team seems to be a close bunch. I am guessing that Charlie Davies’ accident will be more of a galvanizing event than one that leaves the team flat and rudderless tonight.
  • The full TSG preview can be read here. Please keep in mind that it was written before yesterday’s event.
  • While the USMNT has a battle to win the group on their hands this evening, perennial powerhouse Argentina has a dogfight for their Cup lives against Uruguay in what is the biggest game on the global stage. Here’s the take from the Buenos Aires Herald which is shall we say hardly sharp on Argentine coach Diego Maradona.

    GET UP! The 9th Minute Salute for Chuck Deezy

    Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

    9

    Great Work: See a picture and video of The Salute in our follow-up piece.

    Update (game day): We have now reached a universe of nearly 1 million fans with this message courtesy of Maurice Edu, Jozy Altidore, Grant Wahl, Steve Goff and others….5pm EST: The story has been picked up by Goal.com and by the AP. (It is being distributed by the AP.)

    ESPN’s producers have acknowledged an email of this tribute and the American Outlaws fan support team is coordinating on the ground.

    This Is Happening. Make RFK rock for Charlie.

    −−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−

    TSG hopes for a speedy and full recovery for the striker whose 21st minute strike (versus Egypt) put the U.S. back on the road to redemption in South Africa just a few months ago.

    So in support of our favorite team’s injured teammate, TSG, along with the American Outlaws, is backing the effort for all the fans attending Wednesday’s RFK game to stand and cheer for the full 9th minute of tomorrow’s USA v. Costa Rica match. You can print out this number 9 to hold up for Charlie Davies during the 9th minute (starting at 8:00).

    If you are not at the game, stand-up wherever you are. And (via Twitter) from SamsArmy94: Everyone who is able to – up for tweeting @CharlieDavies9 at the same time (9th minute tonight) tweets of support? Yes, sir!

    CD, we hope and know you’ll be up doing the stanky leg in no time…regardless of what docs may or may not say.

    From Stu Holden via Twitter: @stuholden22: U can send ALL your well wishes 2 Charlie-email charliedavies9@yahoo.com , they r printing all and bringing them 2 him! THX

    Now everyone, STAND UP FOR CHARLIE!

    USA vs. Costa Rica: Discovering Depth?

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    Back at work.

    Back at work.

    (TSG’s USA-Costa Rica preview was written prior to Charlie Davies’ car accident.)

    Fresh off a historic qualifying win in Honduras, the US was back in training in our nation’s capital today. Wouldn’t it be a great if the Striker-in-Chief happened to make a journey out to RFK?

    We believe Coach USA and the USMNT should play for the win against Costa Rica, but not miss the chance to explore the depth of the USMNT.

    To be clear,  the USMNT should employ its aggressive attacking and counter-attacking strategy similar to Saturday’s 2nd half, but do so with a few new faces in the line-up.

    Let’s get right to our customary preview.

    1. TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
    2. 11 at the Whistle
    3. *Disclaimers

    TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”

    Overview: The USMNT will be issued a stern challenge by the Costa Rican side that dismantled T&T at home over the weekend. CR was led by striker Alvaro Saborio (of the Championship side Bristol City), who netted twice on Saturday. Perhaps you remember Saborio who put the Yanks down less than two minutes into the match at Saprissa in June.

    More importantly, Costa Rica comes in two points ahead of Honduras for the third and final automatic qualifying spot in the region. We all know by now that the fourth place finisher in CONCACAF has a date with the fifth place finisher from CONMEBOL for a tickets to South Africa. Right now it is likely that either CR or HON will have tickets to “The Battle of Argentina” and you can sure that will not be an easier route to the WC.

    Expect the Costa Ricans to attack like they did in the first game at Saprissa with their Cup hopes on the line. The June 3rd return-to-qualification match-up saw Costa Rica rarely challenged in their defensive third and clinical in breaking down the US defense.

    That game also signaled the beginning of Dempsey’s  loss of form for the national team as well as a glaring display of the US defensive deficiencies when pressed by faster, quicker strikers. Starters that day included Mastreoni, Wynee, Beasley and Torres. The game also saw cameos for current USMNT starter Charlie Davies, former (and future?) hopeful Freddy Adu and Sacha Kljestan

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