ARLINGTON, Texas – Costa Rica’s quest for a first-ever CONCACAF Gold Cup title will have to wait after the Ticos fell to the United States, 2-0, in the semifinals at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night.
That doesn’t mean the tournament was a letdown for the Central American power.
“We are disappointed because we wanted to get in the final, but I think we had a good tournament,” Minnesota United defender Francisco Calvo said. “We improved every game. I think sometimes in the game we were better than the US, but we didn’t score and that was the difference. They scored two and we didn’t score.”
For many, the Costa Rica entered the competition as the favorite to lift the trophy. Then a string of injuries to key players greatly altering the look of head coach Oscar Ramirez’s squad.
Still, Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Kendall Waston was in no mood to make excuses.
“It’s difficult, but at the same time other guys are working hard to try to win a spot,” Waston said. “Everybody wants to show their best quality to try to get in the team. We cannot make excuses, but it’s the reality. Those guys were the ones who were more involved in this squad and new guys came in and tried to do their best effort.”
Ramirez said the experience of playing five competitive matches in the Gold Cup was useful even if the journey ended one game short.
“We learn from each other,” said the 52-year-old. “It’s a learning experience what happened. We wanted more. We hoped for more and expected more. It gives me a preliminary view of what’s going to happen in September when we come back.”
Costa Rica will return to U.S. for a World Cup qualifier against the host nation on September 1 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
“The first of September we have to come here and now we’re going to have all the players healthy,” Calvo said. “I think it’s going to be a different game. For me, it’s the most important game.
“Of course we wanted to win the Gold Cup, but now we have to keep our heads up and keep going.”