EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 18: Bryan Ruiz #10 of Costa Rica looks on against Honduras during the 2011 Gold Cup Quarterfinals on June 18, 2011 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
El Tri takes on the Ticos in San Jose on Friday night in a crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matchup.
Costa Rica are still expected to make the hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, but after their home draw against El Salvador during the last international break, the Ticos look like they could be in some trouble. They face a tough test on Friday against Mexico, CONCACAF's strongest team, and could find themselves in a bit of a hole if they drop all three points.
The good news for the Ticos is that they're healthy. Alvaro Saborio, Bryan Ruiz, Bryan Oviedo, Celso Borges and Christian Bolaños are all fit and expected to start the match. They have a lot of firepower and will have a great home-crowd advantage, but not as strong as an advantage as they used to have. Costa Rica has moved to a new national stadium with an athletics track, and the environment should be a bit less intimidating than Saprissa Stadium.
Mexico are without injured stars Giovani dos Santos and Pablo Barrera, as well as up and coming under-23 star Hector Herrera. However, they'll still field a strong team and will be confident that they can steal at least one point in San Jose. Jose Manuel de la Torre's biggest selection dilemma is in his attack, where he might want to deviate from his normal 4-2-3-1 formation to play two strikers while dos Santos is out injured.
Game Date/Time: Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica
For more on El Tri, head over to Mexican futbol blog FMF State Of Mind. Below, check out our video preview of the match.