HOUSTON -- Canada won’t just be battling Costa Rica when it takes the field at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Tuesday night, it will also be up against the kind of heat usually faced only in away World Cup qualifiers.
The encounter will be the earlier game of the doubleheader, meaning the scorching temperatures the teams have experienced since arriving here will likely be a major factor in determining who gets control of Group A.
“We had a morning session that was pretty early to avoid the heat so it wasn’t too bad,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “But at the end of the training, we really started feeling it. So it was getting pretty hot but it’s playable.”
Two years ago, Canada played Jamaica in Houston under similar conditions and nearly held on for a point before conceding in the final moments.
These sorts of conditions are obviously more comfortable for the teams in the southern part of the CONCACAF region. Canada knows that Costa Rica will be primed for the encounter and the difference may come down to which team manages their exertion best.
“We had a little cooldown with the rain,” Piette said of the game against French Guiana in Harrison, New Jersey, where a heavy storm hit in the second half. “In a hot day, we have to manage the game and manage the ball well and make sure we don’t lose it. You know it’s better to have the ball and play with it than chasing it and running around, getting it back and losing more energy like that.”