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Costa Rican National Team to face former coach Jorge Luis Pinto at Gold Cup

Costa Rica’s National Team, or La Sele, landed in Group A of the upcoming 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup that will take place in the United States from July 7-26. That means Los Ticos will face Honduras, led by their former head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, as well as Canada and French Guiana.

Costa Rica and Honduras will play the group’s inaugural match on July 7 at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.

La Sele then will face Canada on July 11 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and will wrap up the group stage against French Guiana on July 14 at the Toyota Stadium in Dallas.

In a news release from the Costa Rican Football Federation, head coach Óscar Ramírez said the opener against Honduras will be a challenge for his team. He also  noted that La Sele will have to play Honduras three times within a six-month period.

“Honduras is doing a great job under Coach Pinto, and I know they will be a tough opponent,” Ramírez said right after the official draw held at Santa Clara, California on Tuesday evening.

Regarding Canada, Ramírez said that despite being out of the final round of World Cup qualifying matches, the Canadian team combines experienced and young players that will likely put up a good fight.

The coach said Costa Rica will have to prepare carefully as the Canadians are tough players, with a strong biotype.

“They’re tall, aggressive, and very disciplined, so I think it will be a complex game,” he said.

Ramírez said he knows very little about French Guiana, but that they likely have good players who eventually get contracts in French teams: “Like most Caribbean teams, their gamestyle is mostly based on their physical strenghth.”

He also said he has yet to define the final list of players he will take to the tournament. He said he will evaluate the physical state of players who play abroad, but will also consider players performing well locally.

See Ramírez statements after the draw:

The U.S. National Team was seeded on Group B and will be looking to earn its sixth regional title. The team will open against Panama on July 8 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. They will then face Martinique and will end group play against either Haiti or Nicaragua.

Each group of four teams will visit three cities during group play.

Group A
New York/New Jersey (Red Bull Arena), Houston (BBVA Compass Stadium), Dallas (Toyota Stadium)
-Costa Rica
-French Guiana

Group B
Nashville (Nissan Stadium), Tampa (Raymond James Stadium), Cleveland (FirstEnergy Stadium)
-United States
-Haiti or Nicaragua

Group C
San Diego (Qualcomm Stadium), Denver (Sports Authority Field), San Antonio (Alamodome)
-El Salvador

L. Arias
L. Arias
Reporter | The Tico Times |

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