After the United States soccer team arrived at Juan Santamaría International Airport Tuesday afternoon to cheers, jeers, middle fingers and an egged tour bus, the Costa Rican police will be out in full force for Friday’s match between the two countries.
Juan José Andrade, director general of the National Police, said that 500 police officers would be deployed throughout the day at the National Stadium and across San José.
Operations will start at 10 a.m. Friday morning, when 150 police officers will arrive at La Sabana Park in western San José. At 2 p.m., another contingent of 150 officers will deploy in the park and around the stadium on horseback, bicycle and on foot. The final 200 will arrive at 4 p.m. and will assist private security inside the stadium to control fans entering. The director general added that the police presence would continue until 2 a.m. Saturday morning after the match.
Andrade added that there would be drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs at the stadium as well.
“Maybe you should start training them to sniff out eggs,” laughed one reporter during the press conference Wednesday morning, in reference to the eggs thrown at the U.S. team’s bus as they left the airport for their hotel Tuesday night.
Despite the prank, Andrade did not mention any specific threat or anticipated violence during the match.
“Police work is about planning for the worst possible scenario,” the director general said, and he called on Tico fans of “La Sele,” Costa Rica’s national team, to show their pride in respectful ways.
Extra law enforcement will be out across San José and the rest of the country where people congregate to watch the game.
The National Police director rejected any notion that the U.S. squad received any special treatment.
“We’re providing the same support afforded to each team that comes to the country. They will receive the same treatment as any other team.”
The rivalry between the two teams flared last March when the U.S. beat the Costa Rican team 1-0 during a blizzard in Denver Colorado. Ticos cried foul when the match was not postponed and felt they were cheated out of critical points to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Public Security Ministry coordinated its security measures with firefighters, the Costa Rican Red Cross, private security provided by the Costa Rica Soccer Federation, and the U.S. Embassy in San José.
Andrade warned that large sporting events are rife with pickpockets and suggested fans not bring valuables. A statement from the Public Security Ministry said that coins and other metal objects would be seized at the door.
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