PHILADELPHIA – If one thing is certain in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, there will be Central American representation in the semifinals.
That’s because Costa Rica and Panama – in their first-ever Gold Cup meeting -- will face each other in the quarterfinals’ only all-Central American pairing.
In 45 all-time encounters between them, Costa Rica holds a 24-8 advantage in wins. That number is somewhat deceiving, since their five encounters have produced two wins for each.
They have squared off three times in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the Costa Ricans earning two victories and the game ending in a scoreless draw.
Here are some storylines to watch:
- Costa Rica has been eliminated at the quarterfinal stage in its last three Gold Cup appearances. Can it get over the hurdle this time?
- On the current Costa Rica roster, only two players have scored against Panama in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup – Bryan Ruiz and Marco Ureña. Can they do it again?
- Panama has progressed to three consecutive Gold Cup semifinals. It will want to continue that streak.
- In three 2017 Gold Cup games, Panama has already scored six goals, the same amount it netted in six matches two years ago. Can that offensive production be maintained against Costa Rica?