Costa Rica announce Estadio Nacional as venue for match vs. USMNT

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The U.S. Men’s National Team and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann were given good news on Thursday when they found out they won’t have to play in the dreaded Estadio Saprissa on September 6 when they face Costa Rica.

In an announcement on their website, the Costa Rican Football Federation said that due to construction at the stadium locally known as “The Monster’s Cave,” they decided to schedule the upcoming match against the United States at the all-grass field of the Estadio Nacional.

Rumors had persisted all spring that as revenge for the “Snow Game” last March in Denver that Costa Rica lost to the U.S., 1-0, the Costa Rican Federation would put the return match on the rock-hard turf of Saprissa. The last time the U.S. played Costa Rica at Saprissa, they fell to the hosts, 3-1, and couldn’t adjust to the playing surface.

What do you make of this news? Are you relieved? Do you see Costa Rica providing a quality atmosphere even at the Estadio Nacional? Do you believe the U.S. has a better chance of picking up three points?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, Featured, International Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

98 Responses to Costa Rica announce Estadio Nacional as venue for match vs. USMNT

  1. Noah says:


  2. Gerald says:

    Looking forward to the trip

  3. falsify says:

    May as well book a ticket to Brazil now.

    • Brett says:

      We would be wise not to look past them regardless of the surface.

      • mike says:

        after seeing how well CR played Mexico in Azteca recently i would argue they will be really tough to beat no matter what.

  4. Travis says:

    I am stunned by this, fully expected them to force us play in Saprissa. Especially due to comments made after the game in March

    • bryan says:

      well, the key piece missing from this article is that FIFA was not going to approve it. CR is hosting a youth Women’s World Cup and so on July 1, FIFA were going to see if it met their standards. if it wasn’t, no games could be played there. and everyone knew it wouldn’t pass. the CR FA head said, “lo veo difícil” in regards to if he thought they would get approval to play there.

      link to

      • Hogatroge says:

        This. Was looking for someone to mention this.

        “Construction” = Didn’t receive FIFA approval for a shameful and vindictive switch of a previously scheduled match to an unacceptable venue.

        • bryan says:

          yeah, when i read “construction” i laughed so hard. it isn’t false, but i love he didn’t mention the reason for the “construction.”

      • Travis says:

        I figured that might be a part of it, hadn’t seen that info but not surprised to hear it.

    • bryan says:

      well, the key piece missing from this article is that FIFA was not going to approve it. CR is hosting a youth Women’s World Cup and so on July 1, FIFA were going to see if it met their standards. if it wasn’t, no games could be played there. and everyone knew it wouldn’t p@ss. the CR FA head said, “lo veo difícil” in regards to if he thought they would get approval to play there.

      link to

  5. Old School says:

    I hope this isn’t played in the warm sun with noticeable heat. Otherwise, that’s an unfair advantage to Costa Rica.

    • jon says:

      having major home-field advantages is part of the game. if it’s disgustingly hot, that’s a totally fair advantage for costa rica, just as cold (even a little snowey) weather can provide us a fair advantage. i would expect home games in central american countries to be nasty hot, and prepare accordingly.

      • eric says:

        I think it was sarcasm

      • Gene says:

        Average high in San Jose in September is 79 and the low is 61. Sort of NY summer temperatures without the oppressive humidity. San Jose is a bit high (sort of Salt Lake City high, not even like Denver).

    • Carlo Herrchen says:

      San Jose’s climate is pretty mild all year! It could be raining though.

  6. Sam says:

    The U.S. gets at least 1 point and maybe 3 in this one. Costa Rica does not have the quality the U.S. has. What a dump Saprissa is.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Well, people were saying the same about the opener at Honduras…

      That said, the US is in form and on a roll. Even though the match at RioT started sloppy, Honduras never really threatened.

      • mike says:

        Totally disagree on the quality comment above. Costa Rica has the team to beat us. Good squad. Well coached.

    • Rasheed Wallace says:

      Lots of time between then and now to see where both teams stand

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      A lot of people were talking this way 4 years ago. We went on to get absolutely torn apart in Saprissa. Costa Rica deserves a little more respect. They’re a very good team at home.

    • GW says:

      The USMNT usually has had problems in the first game after a long layoff.

  7. Eric says:

    I have to admit I am reveling in the schadenfreude at this news.

    That being said, I think expecting three points on the road against a talented Central American opponent is unrealistic. If the US escaped with a tie, I’d be thrilled. Plus, with 14 points, a tie would put us in position to functionally clinch our World Cup berth (a) at home, and (b) against Mexico. Tough to beat that.

    • Don't care says:

      We should expect three points against every concacaf team not named Mexico.

      • evan says:

        totally agree, but at the same time 1 point wouldn’t be disappointing. Go into the match looking for and expecting to get 3, but if you come out with 1 on the road, that’s acceptable. As the maxim says, 3 at home + 1 away = World Cup Qualification success.

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        You must a fairly new fan. It is EXTREMELY difficult to play against these Central American teams in an away game. Honduras, CR and even ES give the US a fight everytime we go down there. ALSO, CR is doing well in WCQ they have 11 points and could leap frog us with a W. We have never won a WCQ match in CR and you can be sure CR will want revenge for the snow game.

        • Eric says:

          Pretty much this.

          That being said, I do think our chances of getting three points this go-around are higher than in 2009, 2005, or 2001, both because of the change in venue and because of the form our team is in right now.

          But when we’re talking road CONCACAF matches, a “higher” chance doesn’t necessarily mean a “high” chance.

          • Iggy says:

            Just to add, the fact that CR is actually in a good position too means less pressure on them to absolutely need to get 3 points.

      • atd says:

        Costa Rica is ranked ahead of Japan, who everyone expects to make a lot of noise in Brazil. And Denmark, who almost made it out of the group of death at the Euros. And Greece, who actually DID make it out of their group at the Euros. Be realistic.

      • Sven Goran Erikson says:

        That is what I thought while in Mexico.

    • louis z says:

      I think we have a better chance if we decide to use our local boys rather than our German-American boys, we know they don’t do well when playing above 75 degrees.

  8. john.q says:


  9. ANM says:

    It’s the running field that makes all the difference. Less of a cauldron, makes it that much harder to fling the bags of urine, etc. It’s certainly our best chance of taking a point in Costa Rica in… well, ever.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Looks like you would need a heck of an arm (or more like one of those t-shirt launchers) to get said urine bags to the field. Seats are halfway to Panama.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      I don’t know if they throw that kind of stuff in Costa Rica….Mexico of course, Guatemala yes…I lived there lol, El Salvador yes, and Honduras? Probably….but their stadiums have tracks around the field as well so not much of a factor but still…in Costa Rica I think it was mostly empty plastic bottles

      • Hogatroge says:

        The bags of urine and D batteries can still reach players as they exit/enter the tunnels.

        • Edwin in LA says:

          I think because of where the tunnel is….in the central part of the sideline, the people who sit there are probably not that kind of fans….usually those seats are for the more affluent VIPs….but maybe it’s just me being wishful….?

        • GW says:

          Why don’t you guys submit that to MythBusters for an episode?

      • ANM says:

        In the first CR match in the 98 cycle–December 1996–we were bombarded with urine and coins at Saprissa. Not sure the pee-bags have been flung since then… but I’m of the opinion that flinging pee-bags is so bad that you have to go a full four decades before you lose your reputation as a pee-bag flinger.

      • bryan says:

        if things get thrown, i would just do what Ruiz did at Mexico. what are CR going to say? “oh. come on guys, just play.” no, now they can’t say that because they stopped play in Mexico for the same thing.

        • Edwin in LA says:

          I agree….which is why I hope Donovan starts scoring and assisting and gets on the team….he has experience in these type of games….we could sure use a pass like in Azteca 4 years ago remember? Either way I do hope the players don’t put up with it….

  10. bryan says:

    helps a lot but it’s going to be a grind. CR is going to be reallllly motivated. we prevented them from qualifying for 2010 and they are still upset about the Denver game. plus, they are in 2nd and will want 1st. it’s going to be hard fought.

    but Panama outplayed them and was unlucky to surrender two incredible goals by CR…the only shots CR even had.

    • NC Jeff says:

      I agree that this helps a lot … better, more consistent pitch should be a net advantage to the US, crowd further away (due to the track) reduces the impact of the crowd noise, and the crowd being further away makes accurately throwing batteries and water bottles and such much more difficult. That said, for the USA, this is a road WCQ in Central America … don’t think for an instant that the US can just show up and get handed a result (esp., a win).

  11. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Have to agree, this is good. Best chance to really put this thing in the bag.

  12. John McCain says:

    They are going to change venues last minute. MARK MY WORDS

  13. betamale says:

    Good news. Stadium looks awesome too!

  14. Brain Guy says:

    This is great news but don’t underestimate Los Ticos. They’re second in the group for a reason, they drew Mexico at the Azteca, and even at the new stadium they’re going to be tough at home. A draw would be OK, a win would be exceptional.

    • Sandtrout says:

      Pretty sure someone else drew 0-0 at Azteca…. Ah yes! Not just USA but Jamaica!

      My petty point made, I think you’re right.

  15. wfrw07 says:

    With the type of advantage they have had at Saprissa with the intimacy of that venue, what on earth were they thinking constructing a stadium like that? Just took that entire advantage and got rid of it on their own accord. Presumably, they could have easily created a nice field with the same crowd advantage Saprissa gave them (and yes it’d be easier than Saprissa because of the lack of turf, but still).

  16. SBI Troll says:

    Nice looking venue CR have there.

  17. Wansteiger says:

    How come other countries can play on Artificial Turf, but FIFA wont let us host a game in Seattle or Portland without installing grass? Or is that not a rule?

    • Iggy says:

      Fifa will let the US as long as the turf has a certain rating (2 star I believe). Both Seattle and Portland currently have this. For the Seattle match, US soccer, not Fifa, chose to lay the grass over turf. The upcoming gold cup game in portland will be on turf

    • Edwin in LA says:

      It’s not….I think it’s more of the USSF to rather play on grass rather than have our guys play on turf….plus the main thing that affects places like say Portland and Seattle is the long travel….I personally would LOVE to see the US play in Portland as their turf looks the best I’ve seen in any stadium with artificial surface

    • SJ says:

      USSF and Klinsman wouldn’t allow Seattle to have turf. FIFA allows turf as long as they certify the field.

      I believe I read that Klinsman doesn’t necessarily mind turf, but there wasn’t enough time to acclimate to it. I personally think he was being diplomatic. I can’t remember the USMNT ever playing a WCQ on anything but grass.

  18. DYCSoccer17 says:

    I’m actually kinda upset it’s not going to be at Saprissa. I’ll be at the match, and I kinda wanted to see how big of a $hit-hole Saprissa is with my own two eyes…

  19. Joe McKeague says:

    In the long run I think this hurts the US. They need the toughest challenges they can get right now to prepare for what they’ll face in Brazil next year. Of they can’t handle Costa Rica in they’re house, what chance do they have if they run into Brazil in Brazil, or any other of the top flight countries for that matter. They are hitting a groove and they need to be tested and challenged.

    • DYCSoccer17 says:

      Playing on 40 year old turf does nothing to prepare us for Brazil. If anything, it hurts us and could lead to serious knee injuries 10 months before the World Cup.

      Playing in front of a ton of noisy screaming fans, regardless of venue, does help us.

  20. L. Diego Chacón says:

    CORRECTION: did nit mean to send the ” a-hole” word but rather “chumps”

  21. chris thebassplayer says:

    I’m going to miss that cheap imitation of a 70’s Monsanto field…concrete with a few sprigs of plastic…should be a nice tight game.

  22. dan says:

    Saprissa should be banned to play on in a FIFA fixture

  23. David M says:

    The best thing about the stadium is how far the stands are from the field, especially behind the goals.

  24. The other thing is revenue. Estadio Nacional holds 35k versus Saprissa’s 23k.

    So, money is another reason to keep it at the national stadium.

  25. David M says:

    In any case, the Costa Rica game is not nearly as important as if it were had we had something like 8-10 points now.

  26. Alf says:

    This is a fantastic result having the venue changed. We have chance now to get something out of the match,

  27. Pablo says:

    It is so funny to read this many comments, so optimistic because of the change…
    Let me remind you a few facts. The US has NEVER won in Costa Rica in a qualifying game, we have got better results in the US than you have done here. Every time the US comes here, losses by more than one goal. On a head to head analysis, Costa Rica beats the US in points and in goals. And yes, those results have nothing to do with the stadium.
    This time, both teams are doing similar, both teams haven’t loss at home, haven’t received any goals at home, and both did similar on that game in Denver. Having said that, you’re coming here, so try to be realistic.
    Please bring a big bag for all the goals you’re going to take back home!!

    • Mason says:

      Past isn’t prologue.

      Plug that into your google translator.

      • Pablo says:

        Again, both did similar in Denver, the US is not playing better than CR, and we’ll be at home.
        Try to learn a second language (or a third) and then we can talk

        • quozzel says:

          Costa Rica doesn’t have the name power of the USA or Mexico, but results on the field this cycle pretty much would indicate that CR is up there right now with the USA and yes, Mexico, whatever this weird run of bad form El Tri is on is about.

          I’d personally be thoroughly satisfied with a point in Costa Rica, and I think it’s a tall order. Actually in truth I’d be satisfied with two points out of the next two games, because I think Mexico is literally going to be fighting for their lives in Columbus and that is going to be a very, very tough win and could easily be a loss as well.

          I think CONCACAF has four legit World Cup teams this cycle – Honduras being the fourth – and the USA, Mexico, and CR are all probably good enough this cycle to get out of their group.

  28. Alfred says:

    If you guys come to Costa Rica, I might be able to help you guys to get a ticket