PORTLAND, Oregon (Sporting Alert) — Group C action at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup gets underway on Tuesday night with Caribbean champions Cuba taking on Costa Rica at Jeld -Wen Field in Portland.
Cuba v Costa Rica Live CONCACAF Gold Cup | Watch Live Stream on FoxSoccer 2Go.com. Tuesday July 9, at 8:30 ET
Costa Rican players are well known throughout the United States, but in Portland, there is none better loved than Rodney Wallace, who plays for the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer.
The midfielder will have his very own fan base on the game kicks off Tuesday night and his teammates are hoping they will help pump them to victory.
“On our way here we saw some fans approach him and praise him for how well he’s doing here with the Portland Timbers,” defender Michael Umana told concacaf.com.
“Hopefully they’ll come here and through their support of Rodney, support us and it will help us.”
Costa Rica will start the game as the favorites, given their good run in CONCACAF where they are close to qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
However, head coach Costa Rican coach Jorge Luis Pinto has warned his team not to take any team in the Group lightly.
“It is true we have had some success,” Pinto said revealed, “but we want to take this opportunity right now to give the option to other players who have not the chance to play minutes, to develop other players that could have a chance to play on the national team,”
“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to give our best in this Gold Cup. We’re here to compete and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Meanwhile, CFU Caribbean Cup title holders Cuba will remember the 5-0 drubbing they received when these two teams last met in 2011 and will be hoping that such a repeat does not happen on Tuesday night.
Cuban has qualified for seven of the last nine CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments and head coach Walter Benitez is hoping his team can carry over its good form from the Caribbean tournament into the North America competition, as they seek to forgot conceding 16 goals and scoring just one in the last edition.
“We came to give a really good show,” Benitez said. “We know that wasn’t the case the last Gold Cup. We lost all the three games by a big number of goals.
“Our objective this time around is to get past the group phase and move onto the next phase. If we’re able to do that, we’ll be very happy.”