SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – At this moment, one would be hard pressed to find any skepticism in the Costa Rica camp ahead of its 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup opener against Honduras in Harrison, New Jersey.
“We will go step by step because the objective is to win this cup,” said attacker Bryan Ruiz. “Personally, I wanted to play in it. I feel that this is a great moment in which we can fight to be champion and I want to be part of it. For that reason, I did everything to be in it.”
At the same time, the 2016 CONCACAF Player of the Year cautioned against overconfidence, especially since Costa Rica has never lifted the trophy and has made only one trip to the final.
“We have prepared ourselves very well to tackle this tournament,” Ruiz expressed. “We have good players and the desire to do things well, but that does not make us feel like favorites. I think that a team that has not won this tournament cannot feel like that.”
Defender Giancarlo Gonzalez stressed that Costa Rica must set the right tone for the tournament from the opening whistle against current Central American champion Honduras – a side the Ticos have never beaten in Gold Cup play (0W-1D-3L).
“Regardless of the opponent, to win the first match is important to gain confidence,” commented the recent Bologna acquisition. “It’s our turn to measure ourselves against Honduras -- an opponent from [CONCACAF World Cup] qualifying -- who we know will be very difficult and that we should know how to play.
“We are aware that this match will not be like what will happen in qualifying, since these are very different scenarios and in how they are played.”