Costa Rica looks to elevate game in Gold Cup
Action from the World Cup qualifier between Costa Rica (red jersey) and host Mexico on March 24, 2017, in Mexico City. (Photo: Adid jimenez/Straffon Images)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – With its 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup opener set for July 7 against rival Honduras at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, Costa Rica is in fine-tuning mode.

Despite the Ticos picking up four points from their last two World Cup qualifiers to remain second in the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings, fullback Cristian Gamboa believes his team’s performances were not up to the usual standard.  He sees the Gold Cup as a way to get back on a high-level track.

“In Gold Cup, we want to recover the game that we were having in the Hexagonal,” said Gamboa.  “Always, when we put on the national team jersey, we should give the best performance and look for the best result in competitions.

“What’s important now is trying to recover the way of playing that we had in the Hexagonal, being solid in the back and get back to making the same plays on offense.”

Another message emitting from the training camp is the idea of making history.  Costa Rica has never won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, reaching the final only once in 2002, when it fell 2-0 to the United States.

“The objective is clear,” said defender Jose Salvatierra.  “The coaching staff has declared it and we want to back those words and try to win the tournament.”

Costa Rica has advanced to the quarterfinals in three straight Gold Cups