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U.S. national team’s Costa Rican rematch bound for Estadio Saprissa


You know what they say about payback ... being a You-Know-What and all.

No one around Costa Rica’s national team was one bit impressed with the decisions made late last month in Denver around Nieve Guerra – the Snow War. (Why didn’t we think of that nickname sooner …?)

The Costa Ricans even lodged an official complaint with FIFA. Like most of these official complaints to world soccer’s governing body, it went absolutely nowhere.

So it’s hardly shocking that Costa Rica has passed put the teams’ upcoming World Cup qualifier in the least comfortable place for the United States. Costa Rica will apparently pass on the chance to play the teams’ return leg in the round robin schedule of final round World Cup qualifying inside the country’s gleaming new national stadium.

Costa Rican federation president Eduardo Li told a Costa Rican radio station that his federation will stage the teams’ Sept. 6 qualifier Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, a longtime, frequent site for national team matches.

Stadium nickname: The Monster’s Cave. Known for: that intimidating “cage” around the field.

It’s a “monster” to visitors not just for the cage-like effect, but also due to its artificial turf playing surface, on which most visitors are loath to perform. Remember, the United States agreed to host a match at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field only if the Sounders would install a temporary grass field over the facility’s artificial surface.

Actually, a U.S. Soccer federation spokesman told me late Tuesday afternoon that U.S. coaches and staff expected to play at Saprissa all along, and not necessarily due to what unfolded in Denver.

The U.S. national team has never won at Saprissa, with a 0-7-1 mark all along. So even though the Ticos played Mexico on the grass field of the new national stadium, the United States has always anticipated this game being held at the usual site.