Now, it is fighting for survival.
After accruing two points in as many games, the Ticos are looking to secure all three points in their last Group B match against Canada on Tuesday.
Head coach Paulo Wanchope wants his side to lay it all on the line at BMO Field.
“There have been two intense games,” the 38-year-old said. “We knew it would not have been easy, but we remain optimistic. We want to qualify in what has turned out to be a very tough Gold Cup. We have seen that other favorite teams have had a tough time as well.
“I think both teams are obliged to win as we want to secure advancing. Both teams will need to risk everything in search of that first goal.”
Costa Rica’s Gold Cup experience has been one of missed chances. The Central American champion let a 2-1 lead to Jamaica slip away, before conceding an injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 tie with El Salvador.
The Costa Ricans (0-2-0, 2 points), who trail group-leader Jamaica (1-1-0, 4 points), are ahead of El Salvador (0-2-0, 2 points) on the basis of scoring more goals, 3-1, and Canada (0-1-1, 1 point).
Wanchope defended his team’s performances, expressing that he was satisfied with its approach.
“We think that due to one error in the last minute that we have played badly,” he said. “People tend to generalize. We didn’t play a bad game against El Salvador and Jamaica. There were very good things…more good things than bad things. The thing we paid a high price for were last-minute errors. Note that being able to defend a ball that falls in the area is something that draws people attention.
“I don’t doubt what we’re doing. I don’t doubt our style of play. If we need to make individual changes, we will. There are things we need to improve on and I am not going to let the pessimistic attitude in the country affect the functionality of the team.”