USA vs. Costa Rica, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Jamie Squire

The United States are already in a virtual must-win situation just one game into the final round of World Cup qualifying. With no points likely at Estadio Azteca, the USMNT needs three against Costa Rica on Friday.

Given the unfavorable way that the World Cup qualifying schedule fell for the United States, they're in serious need of a win at home against Costa Rica on Friday. Honduras was able to stifle the United States attack and make the most of their home field and weather advantage during the first round of qualifying, sending the USMNT home with no points. With a trip to Estadio Azteca looming, a win is a must for Jurgen Klinsmann's team.

The U.S. team has been ravaged by injuries to defenders, as well as unfortunate circumstances that have left some out of form and top fitness. Fabian Johnson, Steve Cherundolo and Timothy Chandler are suffering from injuries, while a number of other defenders simply aren't playing regularly (or at a high level) for their club teams. Expect a couple of defenders based in MLS to get the start.

They're aided by the fact that Costa Rican star Alvaro Saborio is injured, and the Ticos don't have a direct replacement. Jorge Luis Pinto is going to have to change his tactics, insert an inferior player or play Fulham star Bryan Ruiz out of position as his line-leading center forward.

Match date/time: Friday, 10 p.m. ET

Venue: Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Denver, Colorado

TV: ESPN

Online: Watch ESPN

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