090413_uscr_gonzalezomar_usmnt090313143 John Todd/isiphotos.com
Direct from Costa Rica

The United States Expects To Defeat Costa Rica

Despite an abysmal all-time record in matches played in Costa Rica, the U.S. is rallying around its current 12-game winning steak. The team is oozing confidence ahead of Friday's match.

BY Noah Davis Posted
September 04, 2013
5:24 PM
SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA—The talk turned from surviving to winning. The United States men's national team, 0-7-1 all-time in Costa Rica, believes it can prevail on Friday night (10 p.m. Eastern; BeIN Sport).

"The expectation has changed," Tim Howard said before training on Wednesday. "We've won games on the road, not just here but in Europe as well. I think the way the team is structured now and how we've pressed to win the ball when it turns over instead of sitting back, we've created that expectation."

The Americans, still on their record win streak, don't want to see it end here. If nothing else, the string of victories has dramatically improved morale.

"Winning always creates that, no matter what level you're on," Howard said. "It makes training a little bit lighter. It makes things around the hotel a little bit easier. When it comes to game-time, we're still nervous and raring to go, but it changes the atmosphere outside of the field. It gives it a little bit of a lighthearted feel, but we're still focused. That's what happens when you know you've been winning, and you're capable of coming from behind or dominating [games], whatever it is."

The U.S., of course, has already defeated Costa Rica's best once this year—at the infamous snow game in Colorado. But those circumstances were so unique that there were few, if any, lessons to be gleaned from the match, according to center back Omar Gonzalez.

"It's hard to take a lot from it. I think we fought hard as a team and that was good on our part but this is a totally different game. That's in the past. We're over it," he said.

"Everyone is excited to be here and excited to play on Friday," he added. "Everyone is ready."

A victory in Costa Rica would be another first on Jurgen Klinsmann's coaching resume, but those firsts are secondary to getting three points.

"We've had a lot of first's under Jurgen and it gives us a lot of confidence that we can do it again," Howard said. "Because we're so close now, we're focused on just getting that win. If it happens to come and it's a first, that's great too, but that's not really that important."

A Costa Rican journalist asked Michael Bradley if the attacking line of him, Landon Donovan, and Clint Dempsey would be the secret to getting a win.

The midfielder smiled. "Yeah, we hope so. We hope so."

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